Wikipedia talk:Publicity photos

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What is the status of this policy proposal? Jkelly 17:20, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

It's under discussion, I guess. I'm unhappy with the page in its current form. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 17:33, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
Our two comments are the extent of the discussion? Okay... so, why are you unhappy with it? I'd suggest that it could use some copyediting. Jkelly 17:57, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it is pretty rough. If anyone has any other comments I'd be interested in knowing so that they can get fixed. JYolkowski // talk 22:41, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
Hi - You stated on 5th February 2006 (on the same day it was re-categorised as not being a proposed guideline for Wikipedia) "this is never going to be a policy or guideline but is a useful description of what publicity photos are", but you didn't remove the wikiproject template on this talk page - which I think you put there last November in response to tha above query as to its status. Do you still regard it as to be developed for Wikipedia:WikiProject_Fair_use. Thanks in advance for any info--luke 03:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I just made a rather significant edit. I hope that it smooths out some "roughness". Feedback? Jkelly 02:04, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Helpful website?[edit]

Actors' Agent Search is an online database search for the agents of professional actors. When it succesfully recognizes a name (which happens less often than one might wish) it returns the actor's agency and that agency's phone number. It might be useful for helping people obtain actual publicity photos as opposed to the "it's a photo of someone famous so it is a publicity photo" method often employed. Jkelly 20:49, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Image size[edit]

The images are available in high-resolution TIFF versions

Should these images be resized before uploading? I'm assuming yes. (about to upload Image:Pale Forest.jpg) - Trevor Peacock 12:42, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

What are you trying to illustrate? What is the copyright status? What is the source of the picture? Fair use depends on a lot of issues.-- 19:16, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

criteria for what?[edit]

The page seems to confuse criteria for being a publicity photo with criteria for fair use. -- 19:15, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Publicity photos are a subset of the images usable under Wikipedia:Fair use. --Carnildo 00:23, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


How is this not redundant with our existing fair use guidelines? Radiant_>|< 11:30, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Seems this is a Guidline to explain a particular instance of fair use for Wikipedians. Then the explicitly word seems doubly unnecessary in the sentence "Note that the above only applies to photos that are explicitly distributed for publicity purposes, and does not apply to most photographs of celebrities." Isn't the relevnt question whether the photos purpose is publicity. Comments?--luke 03:02, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Luke, why do you still ignore the clear instructions given? It needs to have copyright sources listed; publicity photos should come from an electronic press kit. Etc. You can argue about the modality as much as you want, but the guidelines are not there for fun. The JPS 09:58, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Like User:UninvitedCompany I believe this guidline is unsatisfactory. Look again at our discussion, and think about what is going on. As a previous user suggested, the guidline is misleading, and in its attempt to accurately characterise a publicity photo it misses the point as to its purpose. Surely its purpose should be to help in assessing fair use, do you not agree--luke 07:04, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
It is helping in assessing fair use. It is providing guidelines which can be used to assess the copyright status of this specific, often misinterpreted, area. Everytime I look back at our discussion, I always see copyrighted images from a website which isn't an electronic press kit. You and wikipedia has no right to use them. This page clarifies this. The general fair use page allows convenient misinterpretations. The JPS 12:20, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

This publicity image of Mary in Big Brother 6 was widely disseminated in both electronic and print media (many national newspapers carried the picture) by Endemol/Channel 4 in May 2005 to advertise the TV programme

The images you refer to were tagged as above. Do you then disagree with that tag.

Funny you should now say "Everytime I look back at our discussion, I always see copyrighted images from a website which isn't an electronic press kit" when previously you said "The News of the World probably did get them from an electonic press kit"

As I said in our previous discussion (and you seemed to agree then) "It seems overwhelmingly likely that these photos (or their originals) were intended (whether explicitly or implicitly) to be reproduced to publicize the programme." This is why I say that the need for explicitness is unnecessary in such a case, and this proposal needs revising.

In any event it was surely wrong to approve the summary deletion of someone's hard work from Wikipedia without any notice whatsoever, simply on the basis of a proposal and without seeing the need for even a discussion (as you asserted later when I brought this to your attention: "There was, and is, no need for a debate. There are guidelines laying out what can be classed as fair use publicity photos. These photos breach those guidelines," not as you said earlier below "They are tagged for deletion, uploader notified, then deleted.")

Surely the 4 factors for fair use are the decisive factor, not this guidline - and especially so since it is not even formally approved as policy yet--luke 08:54, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

  • My statement that the NotW "probably did get them from an electonic press kit" is not proof that they did. More importantly, until you can find an electronic press kit with a specific copyright notice...
  • Your satement "This publicity image of Mary..." is also probably accurate. Again, it is not a verifiable copyright statement.
  • Downloading photos from a website and uploading them again is hardly hard work. Until their copyright status is verified, it is theft.
The JPS 15:30, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


People keep adding photos from Channel 4's website to Big Brother UK series 6. I'm fairly sure I've got it correct, and I've explained it OK. As far as I understand it, these images are not fair use. They are tagged for deletion, uploader notified, then deleted. Then someone else comes along and thinks it would be a good idea to add them... I've resorted to putting a hidden message in the source.
Anyway, please let me know if I'm wrong. The JPS 15:08, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

And currently (15:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)) from the same source to BB7 :) feydey 15:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


The text of this article has a good description but there's no guidance on special tags or a template to use for uploading publicity photos. Can someone please advise? Burns flipper 13:56, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


We need to put in huge bold letters, "Images from award shows and premieres taken by photo agencies such as WireImage, AP, Reuters, etc. are NOT publicity photographs."--Fallout boy 07:51, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Publicity photos and fair-use images of celebrities[edit]

I'm a little confused about the distinction between publicity photos (as described here), and images of celebrities which fall under fair use, under the pretense of being used to illustrate an object. In particular, I raised some concerns at Image talk:DavidTibet.jpg. As far as I can tell, it's a low-resolution image taken from this site. If the image falls under fair-use, then any image of a celebrity found on the web can be used under fair-use, thus undermining the whole point of publicity photos. Can someone clear up this distinction for me? Cnwb 23:07, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Your only confusion in your comment is that all images uploaded to Wikipedia are hosted on the Wikimedia servers in Florida; that has nothing to do with the origin of the image. The image is an incompatible copyright infringement, just like thousands of others inaccurately labelled with Template:Fairusein. It isn't a Publicity photo; there is no evidence that it is a work for hire or that it comes from a press kit, that the copyright is held by David Tibet or his agents, or that the image was intended for wide distribution. The source provided gives no information about the authorship or copyright holder of the image. The best thing to do is to take it to WP:IFD as a copyright infringement with useless sourcing and no rationale. There are plenty more in Category:Fair_use_in..._images if you're interested in hunting them down. Jkelly 23:58, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Removing {{Promotional}} from licensing drop-down[edit]

Hi all. I propose that we remove {{Promotional}} from the licensing drop-down list at MediaWiki:Licenses. I've deleted a lot of images from CAT:NL that were improperly tagged with it, and I don't think very many people actually visit this page to understand what "publicity photo" means. It's easy for people who know what they're doing to tag an image manually, or if they don't know about the tag, to leave a note in the image summary. ~MDD4696 21:18, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes please. Jkelly 21:20, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Please! Many people think it's a picture of a celeb, therefore it's publicity. I like the table used at Commons, which gives people the extra hint that source is required. The JPS talk to me 21:53, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Please!. After {{NoRightsReserved}} and {{CopyrightedFreeUse}}, it's probably the most-misused tag on Wikipedia. --Carnildo 21:58, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
What exactly was the goal of the drop-down, anyway? I know that "having everything tagged" sounded like a good idea at one point, but honestly, I wonder what the track record is? Users seem to select them at random for the most part. --Fastfission 22:08, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Overall, new uploads are tagged correctly about 62% of the time. --Carnildo 06:08, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Promotional has been removed. ~MDD4696 19:26, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
This eases up a lot of work on image uploads, very nice. feydey 20:58, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


Hi. Could I ask for your opinions concerning the two images I mention here. Namely: Image:Michael Rose.jpg (doesn't come from a press kit -- it was distributed to fans... the BBC's intentions for reproduction are unclear) and Image:Facade.jpg (the source is an unofficial fansite that has itself taken the image from elsewhere).

I need advice from you folks because I don't want to keep nominating copyvios for them to be rejected. The JPS talk to me 11:45, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Image:Facade.jpg has no source (Taken from - is not a proper source) and IF it is from somewhere in that site, the license says: "been released by a company or organization" and that site is a fan page (fan pages cannot be held as the copyright owners or producers of the image), so this is a NSD and/or copyvio.
Image:Michael Rose.jpg license says:"that is known to have come from a press kit" and the image has just a link under Summary (to which is again a fan site) so I'd say, no fair use rationale given or verifications that this is a promotional image from an official press kit. If it were from a BBC press kit images site, then I'd keep it (or if there was a line on the image: "for promotional use" or similar). Even if it was distributed to fans doesn't mean it is a promo picture. All above is IMHO then.
feydey 15:05, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you, feydey: you've confirmed my thoughts. The Michael Rose image (one of many similar images) had been rejected from copyvio status becasue the 'fair use tag' is in place. I'm currently clarifying for that user what a promophoto is. The JPS talk to me 10:23, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Please let me know of the results. feydey 10:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Straight Talk.[edit]

The subject of an article in Wikipedia sent me an image by electronic mail to be included with the entry.

Is this considered a "publicity photo"? Also, what steps need to be taken before the image is uploaded? --Folajimi 13:51, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Is the subject also the photographer? How is the image licensed? Jkelly 16:31, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that the photographer was a third party; however, I will confirm that with the subject. As for licensing, I doubt there is one; I asked for it, and it was given to me. What should be the next course of action?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Folajimi (talkcontribs)
Ideally, get the photographer to email permissions AT with a statement saying that they have released the image under a free, reusable license, assuming that they do. Then use {{GFDL}}, {{cc-by}}, or whatever the appropriate license is. If the photo is not licensed under a free, reusable license, you may make a Wikipedia:Fair use claim, and add {{Permission}}, but note that the image may be deleted at any time, especially if a free, reusable alternative is found. Jkelly 17:10, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
According to the deletion logs, {{CC-BY}} never existed. Could you please clarify what that template is supposed to represent? Also, I was wondering if any of those tags mean that they are free to use by the project, provided that they are not altered. Do you know if there are any such licenses? Folajimi 17:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Fixed the CC-BY, sorry. That would be a "No derivatives" license, which means a Wikipedia:Fair use claim would have to be made. Jkelly 19:00, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
The picture was taken by the subject's manager; does that make it safe to upload? --Folajimi 19:59, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
What is the procedure to follow when uploading images made by me? Folajimi 20:28, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Images made by you should be tagged {{GFDL-self}}, or {{PD-self}}. If you upload them to Wikimedia Commons, you have a few more licensing options. Jkelly 20:36, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

This page is dangerous[edit]

Because this page is linked to from the official fair use policy page, it may be extremely confusing for end users, despite declaring at the top that it is not policy. As currently written, the page is not just wrong in some minor ways, it is diametrically opposed to the direction we have been heading with respect to fair use in Wikipedia.

In general, ordinary publicity photos of celebrities should not be used in Wikipedia unless they are released under a free license. We are powerful enough now that we can insist on this, and get it, from just about any celebrity, or we can get a free photo in a number of different ways. Using fair use in such cases discourages us from creatively looking for a way to enlarge the commons.

My own view, which is at the extreme end of the spectrum I know, and therefore not (yet) formal policy in every case, is that we ought to have almost no fair use, outside of a very narrow class of images that are of unique historical importance. The cover of an album is the best and only sensible illustration of an article about that album, for example. A screenshot from a movie is often also the best and only sensible illustration. Some pictures (Elian Gonzales and the Border Patrol for example) are historically critical and irreplacable and worth fighting a fair use battle for if necessary. But an ordinary photo of a random celebrity? We are much better off to have no photo than to have a fair use or even "wikipedia only" photo.--Jimbo Wales 21:03, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Actually, the description given here is much more restrictive than our actual practice. See Category:Promotional images for how the template is actually being used. It is one of the top five most problematic image categories by any measure I can think of. Jkelly 21:28, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jkelly, promo pictures are a problem since new users usually a) find a picture of a celebrity on a webpage b) upload it to WP and just add a {{Promotional}} tag. This is hard to challenge, since the fair use rationale policy is not clear and not very friendly if You want to challenge it, {{fairusedisputed}} is the only applicable deletion procedure (it's slow and surprise, surprise it has a huge backlog). I say challenge the users to take pics of people themselves so they can be uploaded to WP under a free license. Currently no new user will bother to do that if fair use images of people are used in articles. feydey 23:43, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Correct, it's just too easy to use a fair use image. While sometimes it can be quite easy to get a free image. For instance, I only had to write a short e-mail to get this image on a license wikipedia can use. Garion96 (talk) 23:49, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
By the way, how do we give evidence of image licenses in cases like that? Pasting the email's text is easily fakable. Should we assume good fait in all cases? Even for newly created accounts? I face the same problem for images tagged as {{PD-self}} or {{GFDL-self}}. Please, note this I'm not just questioning Garion96's case. I for one had uploaded "self" images into commons for what I had not provided such evidence. --Abu Badali 00:35, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
That is a problem indeed. In this example the copyright holder just changed the license in flickr. But he also can change it back to another license. Then it's hard to prove the image was ever released on a CC license wikipedia can use. Garion96 (talk) 05:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, that's not true at all. Just have them send an email to permissions <at>, which keeps a record for us. Titoxd(?!?) 09:18, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
That's indeed what I did. Permissions already archived it. Garion96 (talk) 12:23, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Again, I cite this proposed amendment as a chance to make the fair use police more "clear" than it currently is. A meticulously crafted wording change is necessary. For instance, if we just add some text forbiding the used of promotional images of living people, editors would start to illustrate celebritie's articles with album covers, magazine covers, movie screenshots and the like. And when we dispute these uses based on the current wording of Wikipedia:Fair use#Images, the articles are changed to include statements about how "unique" that specific magazine cover (randomly picked from Google Images) is, or about how that screenshot captures the lifetime-achievement moment of the actor's carrer. --Abu Badali 00:35, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I believe the current discussion on the proposed amendment to the fair use policy is, offtopic finger-pointings apart, heading towards this narrowing of acceptable fair use claims. --Abu Badali 22:17, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I think our policy, specifically FUC #1 is decent; the problem is enforcement. To deal with images for which free replacements could be created (as is the case with most all of the living people and cars and buildings in Category:Promotional images), all we have now are crummy processes like {{Fairusedisputed}} and {{Fair use replace}} that do not themselves lead to deletion, and IFD. What we need is a new CSD to enforce FUC #1, probably with the 7-day waiting period that we have for no source and similar problems. We need to clear these out as soon as possible; their presence sets a bad example, encourages a flow of similar uploads, and obscures our need for free images. ×Meegs 11:48, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I hate to say it, but Jimbo is totally wrong when he writes, We are much better off to have no photo than to have a fair use or even "wikipedia only" photo.. The whole point of Wikipedia is to be a vast store of knowledge. Images assist greatly in that process -- heck, there are articles about it on Wikipedia. The ONLY questions we should ask when adding an image to an article are (1) does it make the article better? and (2) are we gonna get sued? If the answers are (1) yes and (2) no, then add the image! This desire to force the GDFL on the rest of the world is, frankly, snobbish. I don't pretend to know what's the best (c) system for the planet, and it shouldn't be Wikipedia's mission to pretend to know what is, either. --M@rēino 03:17, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the "whole point" of Wikipedia is to give away a free, reusable encyclopedia. The GFDL is an artifact of that, not a goal of ours. Jkelly 03:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Right, that is the point, just like I said. Now people are giving us stuff for free to use in that encyclopedia, and Jimbo wants to refuse it not because of the quality of the material, but because they don't support something written up by the Unix guys? The GFDL is an artifact that is holding back the goal of the project. --M@rēino 05:06, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
For images it doesn't has to be GFDL of course. Creative Commons also is ok (not all licenses but still). Garion96 (talk) 05:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
All the picture has to be is sufficiently free. We will accept any sufficiently free license. 'Non-commercial use only', 'no modifications permitted', or 'use on Wikipedia only' are not sufficiently free licenses for our purpose. We're not being anal about one particular license; it's the degree of freedom that matters. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 08:54, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
This page is dangerous
What has occasioned this remark please? Are fair use images becoming significantly more problematic in terms of the administration of the project? How problematic are they at the moment? Maybe just ball park figures. Thanks--luke 12:50, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • The question of "will we get sued?" for the use of a fair use image is not a good question to ask. It speaks a presumption that we could have regarding the intent of a copyright holder's rights. If we keep assuming we won't get sued, we'll eventually be wrong. Being wrong in this case carriers potentially very heavy financial penalties. Our goal is to create a free encyclopedia. Fair use images generally do NOT contribute to that goal. I agree with Jimbo; fair use images need to be considerably tightened up and the metric for their inclusion must be very narrow and easily defensible. --Durin 20:24, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
    • I didn't notice any mention of this topic at Wikimania, but haven't yet been able to check all the info. Has anyone noticed any mention of it there please?--luke 18:18, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
      • hmmm, no response on whether these proposed changed were discussed at Wikimania 2006, an ideal opportunity and coming four days after this was raised. Also, no response on what caused this outburst of feeling at the time, which occasioned the use of the word 'dangerous' in particular.--luke 06:56, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
      • the current Queen's official Canadian portrait is due for deletion very soon. Why did you use the word dangerous, please?--luke 09:47, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
  • sigh - so the Queen's official Canadian portrait is no longer on Wikipedia. But your intervention has lead to some considerable ruffling of feathers, and the best way to resolve the issue is to go GFDL all the way. If we believe in free content, then of course we do free content, don't we? For if you will consider compromise on this point you open a hornet's nest of squabbles--luke 19:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Action plan? Can we do something?[edit]

I agree with Jkelly. It can be a pain to implement this, especially since it's status has been demoted from 'proposed guideline' to 'essay'. I've been trying to get Image:Bb Derek-Laud.jpg for ages -- it's a clear copyvio (the source is a newspaper, not a press kit). It's been 'reviewed' once by someone who I don't think understands what we're trying to do on this page.

My dream action plan is:

  1. run a bot (OrphanBot, or similar) through these categories and tag unsourced images as such. OrphanBot does this for new images, so it should be feasible for old ones.
    • We will then need to spend a bit of time challenging those who will revert without adding a source.
  2. Run OrphanBot through again to check for rationales. (I've seen it do this, as it looks for popular words).
  3. This will leave us with images that at least have a source and rationale. We can then check them. If 1&2 work, there shouldn't be as many left to review.

I think most people agree that the Promo cats are a problem. The 'Untagged images' task was a huge one, but eventually got it down.

There needs to be a clear policy on Promo images, and soon. If Jimbo doesn't like this one, would he please propose one that he thinks is suitable, and then put it through. We need something we can point to and say this is policy. The JPStalk to me 12:11, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

  • I would add that the Bot should not be programmed to only accept URLs as sources. The URL is often very, very misleading as to the true source. For example, if I get a picture of Derek Laud from "" (or from a small newspaper), it's extremely likely that the actual (c) holder is not the same as the owner of the URL. The source should be the most likely owner of the (c), say the photographer, or if the work is for hire, the publicist. --M@rēino 16:39, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Sure: that's where stage 3 of my suggestion comes into play. Stages one and two would get rid of those without any source and rationale, whilch would leave a drastically reduced number of images to be checked by humans. It's at that point we can assess accuracy, etc. (And speaking of accuracy, we would also need, eventually, to do some sort of systematic analysis of tags such as PD-self). The JPStalk to me 17:18, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Alrighty, you have my support. And I wholeheartedly agree that PD-self is next in line; it's an easy tag to abuse. --M@rēino 20:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Once I get a database dump set up on my computer (should finish up later today), I'll be setting OrphanBot up to go through all existing uploads checking for those without sources. The bot is more than capable of doing any reverting needed to keep the tags in place -- I've yet to see anyone who can out-stubborn it -- but it can't handle people replacing the tag with a bad source, and it can't tell the difference between a description of an image and a sourced image.
Checking for rationales is trickier and more controversial. The bot can only check to see if the uploader has thought about fair use, not if they've provided a valid rationale. Further, even though I haven't had to adjust the keyword list in over two months, there will be objections to running it because it can't possibly detect all the ways that people can phrase a fair-use rationale. --Carnildo 20:53, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Cool, this sounds good. Similar to my response to Mareino above, at least the bot could get rid of those without any attempt at one. In the meantime, we really need to establish a clear policy specifically for 'publicity photos' we can point to when it gets to the point we are challenging sources and rationales. In the past, a separate policy has been challenged because it replicates the fair use one. However, this is too vague, and the arguments get very time consuming. The JPStalk to me 12:47, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I believe {{Promophoto}} covers the policy ground pretty well where it says "This tag should only be used for images of a person, product, or event that is known to have come from a press kit or similar source, for the purpose of reuse by the media". We just haven't codified that in a policy anywhere. But, that rationale is pretty tight if we stick to it; provide proof this came from a press kit, or the image is out. Let's just codify this in a policy. Quoting the template is probably insufficient to our task. --Durin 21:08, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales seems to be indicating that he is not very happy with the "implied licensing" argument. I suggest that a press kit being used a source may show that we are not impacting potential commercial use by the copyright holder, a point which is necessary but not sufficient for Wikipedia:Fair use claims. Jkelly 21:12, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • de-indent We can proscribe it further then; promophotos are only authorized by the foundation. I.e. images explicitly sent to Wikimedia for release by the celebrity or a designated official agent. Of course, this still sends us down the path of displaying a DVD cover or some such with a title like "<celebrity> on the cover of <x>". I think eventually we're just going to get fed up with fair use clauses and ditch all but a limited set of fair use images. --Durin 21:21, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
The best way to prevent that from happening is to demonstrate that we can come up with sensible policy and implement it. I'll admit that I'm not entirely optimistic. Jkelly 21:23, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • In general, I'm not just pessimistic. I'm thoroughly depressed about the fair use situation. The amount of horsepower we have to handle this is, I think, grossly insufficient to the task. A casual perusal of recent changes for images shows the paucity of understanding of copyright images among our users. Image violations are rampant, and the tools to handle it are very limited. I've done more than 1600 fair use image violation removals and find that there's been no improvement in general; the problem is still very present and I still regularly come across users who fail to understand basic copyright principles. I fear that if we chase this rabbit into it's hole, it'll just keep coming up out of other holes. While copyright issues are something we need to attempt to educate our users about, the reality is most of the editing public just doesn't care about copyright, or if they do care they don't understand. Wikipedia, in all its size, is not up to the task of educating the general public about copyright issues. The problem is most likely too big for us to solve and remain as a "anyone can upload images" system. I hate the idea of locking it down, but it may be the only way forward ultimately. Paraphrasing Churchill, "It has been said that limiting image uploads is the worst wiki way to do this except all the others that have been tried". I haven't seen any options that are capable of handling the task at hand. --Durin 21:29, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you, Durin, that most users don't care at all about copyright, but I don't think that's the main reason the system is failing. Most editors haven't read the majority of WP policies, but they still get along by following patterns and copying what they see. Part of what they see now are tens of thousands of images, including ones in featured articles, that violate our policies (particularly FUC #1). If we could somehow delete the offenders faster than they come for a while, the base would shrink and I think the influx would drop dramatically. I don't think we have the manpower, though, so I'm depressed too. ×Meegs 02:57, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Getting rid of {{promophoto}} from the license selector has already had unintended consequences. I've been analyzing the images uploaded on July 31 to see if the current procedures could theoretically handle it if we had enough people inspecting uploads, and of the 600 I've checked so far, 26 {{tv-screenshot}} images are the sort of thing that used to get a {{promophoto}} tag: generic images taken from the internet. In fact, I haven't seen a single TV screenshot go by so far. --Carnildo 06:03, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
There can be some genuine misunderstanding among newbies over the meaning of screenshot. Althouth the article makes it clear, some assume that it is a sot to do with TV, then it counts... Although you're right: some are misusing it. there is one use imparticular who I blocked for knowingly misusing it after warnings. Perhaps once we have a policy, have culled existing images, we can put it back to act as a trap? Perhaps with additional pop-up warnings during the upload stages? The JPStalk to me 09:51, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Immediate solution[edit]

Note that failing Wikipedia:Fair use criteria now means that an image can be deleted forty-eight hours after uploading. Many of the images in this category fail criteria 1. Many fail criteria 2. Many fail criteria 10. We have been very conservative about deleting images in the past, largely because it could not be undone in cases of accident. Image undeletion is now possible, and there is no good reason to be republishing images that we are not entirely confident about our use of. Jkelly 20:32, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

#10 is adequately handled by {{no source}}, {{no license}}, and {{no rationale}}. I see no reason to enforce the 48-hour limit on those, since it's a record-keeping error that can be fixed by the uploader, who might not check Wikipedia every day. Enforcing it on #1 and #2 makes sense, because those are fundamental problems with the image that no amount of verbiage on the image description page can fix. --Carnildo 22:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with your reasoning, Carnildo, though I personally prefer to use the 7-day processes anytime they can be made to fit. Any fair use rationale that doesn't address criterion #2 isn't worth a thing, so WP:CSD#I6 (no rationale) is certainly an option there. Could it also be used for images whose rationales do not address #1? If not, is there any chance of involving OrphanBot in the 48-hour process (which need not be completed that quickly, of course) once it's been initiated by a human? It would be nice to have it help out at least with the orphaning step. I'm always happier deleting images that've already been removed for the article, not for my own convenience, but because it means that all of its article's watchers were aware that the image was in danger. ×Meegs 02:15, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

A tangible example[edit]

So let's take a tangible example: Image:Smoosh 1 main.jpg. I contacted the band's management, asked them what we could use, and they directed me to two photos in their press kit, of which this seemed the more appropriate. As you can see on the image page, I remarked on that. But as far as I remember, I didn't get any formal documentation of the permission, because (as far as I can tell) that was not at that time standard practice. It's an excellent photo, probably better than anything someone is liable to be able to shoot at a show. Are we saying that we are now liable to remove this? And, if so, and if I want to prevent this from being removed, what exactly do I need?

Please note: I'm not asking because this one photo is that terribly important, but because the answer you give me is roughly the answer we will have to write up to give to several hundred other people. - Jmabel | Talk 06:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

One problem with that image is that you tagged it with {{Promotional}}, which is for a "work or product", rather than {{Promophoto}}, which is for human beings. But since your link is to a press kit, I think it's okay. The problem is the large number of photographs with these tags on them where the source is clearly not a press kit. User:Angr 09:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've now changed the tag. Do I understand from your remark, then, that a large part of the problem is that people have been using this tag on images that are not promotional, and without obtaining any permission to use them? I don't believe I've ever knowingly done that with a copyrighted image. But more to the point: is there anything more I should have done than what I did here? In other words, what are the instructions for doing this correctly? - Jmabel | Talk 16:12, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales' position seems to be that the correct thing to do is to write to the publicity team and say "All you need to do in order to get the image you want of your band on a top twenty website is to freely license it." We cannot very well do that, however, while having thousands upon thousands of images that contradict that. In terms of dealing with what we actually have already, we need to be clear to users that they should never get attached to their unfree contributions, and delete things in the category that we don't know were intended to be widely distributed, which doesn't seem to include the one you mention above. Jkelly 16:32, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Are we going too far?[edit]

That's certainly my belief; removing "reasonably" from "could reasonably be created" reduces many (if not most) such images to near (if not total) impossibility. Do we really want to create Wikirazzi who will do anything to get a free photo of a celebrity because that's their only option (and, no, I don't feel I'm exaggerating...)? Consider: fair use suggests (if not outright demands) that we cannot use screenshots from films to identify actors because the image represents a character. The only other alternative I can see is caps from DVD special features, a la Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 15:20, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

We can also ask for an existing publicity photo to be released under a free license. See WP:COPYREQ for intructions in doing so. --Abu Badali 15:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
An attempt I've made—twice. Good luck with that... ;) RadioKirk (u|t|c) 15:40, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
One of things that makes it hard is the fact that we are currently using thousands of unfree publicity photos. Once we clean them all, we will have a stronger appeal. But anyways, it's not that hard. See my commons page for a list of celebrity images I got, most of them after asking the copyright holder to release them. --Abu Badali 16:23, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Clearly an unusual case; I've worked in the news media for 15 years and both attempts I've made have failed. Still, we're off-point: recent changes are too strict; publicity images are for just that—publicity. To toss those legitimate images in an effort to rid Wiki of the incorrectly tagged images is a baby-with-the-bathwater argument that will have a massive, damaging—and incorrect—effect. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 16:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
This is not only about incorrectly tagged images. It's about building a free content encyclopedia. --Abu Badali 16:50, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Lest I belabor the point, "free is better" (your edit summary) is not the argument you make herein; rather, you're asserting that "free is mandatory". Again, with every possible strength, I disagree. Edit: Let me also add that, if the "goal" (per your assertion) is a 100% free-content encyclopedia, any and all policy wrt fair use becomes completely moot, as does this argument. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 16:54, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
There are cases where fair use is necessary. These are the so called "unrepeatable" pictures. And imho, pictures of healthy. living, well known, free citzens are not unrepeatable. Actually, celebrities are simply the most photographed people in the world. (Most of images are not free to be used, of course. But Wikipedia is such an opportunity to change this status quo.) --Abu Badali 17:16, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
With all respect, the celebrities-are-the-most-photographed-people-in-the-world-but-few-images-are-free argument collapses upon itself, while "Wikipedia is such an opportunity to change this status quo" supports my point wrt Wikirazzi. While I have every faith in our respective faith in this project, it is clear that you and I continue to argue in circles, each unwilling to waver from a good-faith argument. As such, I've left another message for Jimbo, and I'm backing out until I see more widespread participation. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 17:26, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm piping in with my opinion here. I'm someone who does a lot of fair-use monitoring. I think the policy (no fair-use images where a free image could reasonably be provided) goes well beyond what copyright and fair-use actually requires. Of course, I am not a lawyer. That said, we have a big problem right now with images. A lot of images are mistagged as promotional when there's no evidence they actually are. Additionally, very few copyrighted images possess any sort of detailed fair-use rationale. I think in general, the pictures don't really add much to the article. I mean, how hard is it to find a picture of, say, Jennifer Aniston or Randy Orton? I acknowledge I'm probably in the minority here, though. Most people I communicate with think articles should have at least one image, preferably several. I've heard arguments that this breaks up the flow of text which is true but not, in my opinion, a good fair-use rationale. Still, it's probably more reasonable that other people want several images per page than my claim that the images aren't really adding much to most articles. One nice thing about saying "no fair-use images of living people" is that it is very easy to explain and enforce. But it is already ticking off a lot of people. --Yamla 22:18, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. I'm all for those of us working to enforce copyright (though, admittedly, my own involvement has been limited to those brought to my attention) and, frankly, any image incorrectly tagged {{promophoto}} should be nuked with fire. Still, my opinion of the one-extreme-to-the-other nature of this "solution" is something I'll try to not repeat yet again ;) RadioKirk (u|t|c) 22:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I am a lawyer, and the increasing condition creep that's been rising over "fair use" policy on Wikipedia is far stricter than any fair use or fair dealing regime I'm familiar with. Yes, we're right to be paranoid - to a degree. Yes, we should be actively enforcing and forcing the existence of fair use rationales, and yes, not every picture tagged {{promotional}} is correctly tagged. That being said, photographs obtained from theatrical agencies are expressly produced for the promotion of the person concerned, so fair use can certainly be argued, if not outright established.

Despite what Jimbo is suggesting, the reality is that Wikipedia on its own is not powerful enough that your average admin or editor can request and get "free" versions. Perhaps if Jimbo himself, or the Trustees, or the lawyer(s), or anyone with the express authority of Jimbo makes the request, but your bog-standard editor would probably simply be ignored.

I'm not saying that all articles require pictures, or even more than one picture (to my mind, unless additional pictures actually are required to illustrate a point, they are not needed; the example rationale of breaking up text is rightly noted as — to put it charitably — insufficient). However, if we're going to say that Wikipedia's policies regarding the use of images are linked to "fair use" (a legal term whenever copyright is discussed, not a colloquial one), then we should adhere to reasonable standards of fair use and not enact, ad hoc, stricter policies and justify those by appeals to authority, pretending by the very use of the term that it's because "fair use" forces us to enact such policies.

However, if we, or Jimbo, are going to decide, "No un-free images of living celebrities", period, then let's do this. Take the lame "fair use" condition out of it. Forget "reasonably", since Wikipedia is under no obligation to be reasonable in this instance. Call this "Wikipedia image use criteria" instead of "fair use". To keep misusing the term "fair use" like this is to invite confusion and resentment — not to mention psuedo-legal or legal arguments — from people. Policy should be clear, direct and unambigious as possible. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 02:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

It's worth noting that Wikipedia's policies don't have to be linked to the actual law. Of course, we can't break the law regarding copyright and fair-use, but there's no obligation that we allow anything the law allows. I believe this is what Khaosworks is saying. We should either follow the law or take a specific step that says "no fair use". Personally, I fall slightly on the "no fair-use of living people" side (except, perhaps, people in hiding). But that said, I'm not sure whether this won't just piss off a lot more people. Still, the Wikipedia would be a better place with far fewer copyright infringements. Anyway, I agree with Khaosworks that we should either allow fair-use images or allow only free images (of living celebs, possibly of living people). Wikipedia needs a firm stand to stop the confusion. --Yamla 02:25, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
It would make sense to remame Wikipedia fair use (concerning images) to something like 'non free content image policy'. Since the legal term fair use is far apart from what Wikipedia considers fair use. Garion96 (talk) 14:50, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
You took the words right out of my mouth. Too much confusion is made by the use of the term "fair use" in Wikipedia. WP:FUC is about the use of unfree images on Wikipedia, not about copyright law. --Abu Badali 15:53, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Since it's more fitting on WP:FU I started a topic there. Garion96 (talk) 16:35, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

i think all this is going way to far a big deal is being made out of nothing really as i see it. There is so many damn rules on pictures that my attitude now is why doesnt wikipedia just take away the choice of uploading pictures seeing as most the pictures on here will be deleted Just ban all images and uplaoding outright, cos this is just getting silly. Promotional pictures are just that they are just to promote the person but yet this site says its not allow when all other companies use that picture for promoting that person. This is all getting silly now. People using well as there a living person you can get a free image of that person, but that isn't always the case one maybe able to get a free image but unless there is someone who is able to get it then one can't get a free image to use on here, this should matter if there is one out there, unless there is someoen who is willing to give there picture then its not possible. Lil crazy thing 07:35, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

This seems to be argument from ignorance, a logical fallacy. It would be more accurate to argue from the other side. We assume a free use image of a living person can be created and it is the uploader's responsibility to provide evidence that this is not the case. I can certainly imagine some cases where a free-use image could not reasonably be created of a living person. --Yamla 14:53, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Does anyone else read the WP:FUC policy as requiring proof that no free images have been created of a living person? I don't understand how you can read "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information." (point 1, WP:FUC) as meaning "No known free equivalent is currently available", and these seem to be radically different to me, but this seems to be what Lil crazy thing is arguing, so if someone else believes this is what the point is claiming, please speak up. --Yamla 15:19, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

So, this is it, then? We're going to let Wiki's attorney stick our collective tail between our legs and take the easy way out ("Wipe them out. All of them.") rather than roll up our sleeves and work to craft a policy that promotes adherence to law? I dove in to The Great Userbox Debate (and some of my suggestions helped form WP:GUS); I'm ready to dive in here, too... RadioKirk (u|t|c) 17:37, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I've drafted a preliminary proposal for images of living people and would welcome your comments. You can find more info on this discussion (at 07:14, 31 October 2006 UTC). Thanks--luke 07:35, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
A ridiculous conclusion. For example, we now have Dan Savage "bummed" (his word in email to me) because we appear to be on the verge of removing a photo of him from Wikipedia shortly after he wrote in his column how much he liked the picture. We are every bit as likely to make enemies by removing fair use pictures as by adding them.
Virtually every newspaper and major web site in the world uses publicity photos. That is what they are for! They aren't techincally free-licensed but, essentially, any use of them to illustrate their subject is legitimate fair use. This is the sort of reason fair use doctrine exists. Yes, we are for "free license" images. But are we now the enemies of the legal doctrine of fair use? And, if so, why? - Jmabel | Talk 03:02, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Fair Use on Wikipedia is a 'dogs dinner' of a policy (my words). It may be that Larry Moore User:Nv8200p will untag Dan Savage's image for that specific offence if more detailed source info is given, yet anytime it's now liable to deletion by a diligent admin for contradicting our latest policy, as i guess you appreciate. You must ultimately ask Jimmy Wales why we are the enemies of fair use (in my view in some sense there is a continuity, not a dichotomy, between FU and 'free content' - which is at our core). One possible reason is the overwhelming preponderance of multimedia versus text on the servers (maybe Jimmy wants to reduce the load on them).--luke 16:58, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I see only one solution[edit]

We need someone with a properly tagged fair use image to sue Wikipedia—a so-called "friendly lawsuit".

It's that simple.

Only by establishing within the confines of a court of law that which is or is not acceptable fair use can we stem the piddle in which we sit, in a corner, with our tails between our collective legs, cowering at the whim of one person (two at the most) whose overprotective nature(s) defy law, logic and common sense.

We are either building a 100% free encyclopedia, or a 100% free content encyclopedia in which fair use is carefully governed by law; any attempt to further regulate away from the latter will make the former mandatory—eventually. There is no "this is fair use, except..."

It is time. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 22:48, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Everyday I get more convinced that calling Wikipedia:Fair use criteria "Wikipedia:Fair use criteria" was a grate error. Think about that as Wikipedia:Unfree material criteria. If it was just about copyright law, why on the earth we would be speedy-deleting Wikipedia-only licensed images? They are completly court-safe. --Abu Badali 23:21, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
It's all about the 100% free encyclopedia fallacy that you continue to espouse. The statement stands. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 23:24, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't a friendly lawsuit be the wrong way to make a point? --Damian Yerrick () 02:23, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Not off wiki, no. It's used all the time in the real world. Daniel Case 17:32, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
A "friendly lawsuit" wouldn't settle anything. There is little or no question that using publicity photos to illustrate a relevant topic in a web-based encyclopedia falls within the legal definition of fair use. At worst, it would be a re-user who might use in an infringing manner. The issue is one of policy. And I agree with Abu Badali that "fair use" was, on the whole, an ill-chosen term. - Jmabel | Talk 07:32, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Is that it, then?[edit]

No discussion whatsoever; apparently, it's done, and I'm pissing in the wind... RadioKirk (u|t|c) 01:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Quite a bit of discussion. But perhaps your specific proposal has gotten lost in the shuffle? I, for one, am not sure exactly what was the proposal (obviously, wikirazzi was a straw man, not a proposal). - Jmabel | Talk 07:35, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Please consider to copy the Commons Email template for all permission enquiries[edit]


declaration of consent for all enquiries

Due to the large number of ambiguous answers to enquiries concerning a permission of reuse for an image, text or similar (like "I allow Wikipedia to reuse my photos.") it is advisable to attach to the enquiry email a standard declaration of consent (and point to it in the email), which in return will be used by the author/copyright owner in the answering email, supplemented with the according correct information:

I hereby assert that I am the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of WORK [ insert link ].

I agree to publish that work under the free license LICENSE [ choose at least one from ].

I acknowledge that I grant anyone the right use the image in a commercial product, and to modify it according to their needs.

I am aware that I always retain copyright of my image, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the image will not be attributed to me.

I am aware that the free license only concerns copyright, and I reserve the option to take action against anyone who uses this work in violation of another law such as trademarks restrictions, libel, or geographically specific restrictions.

I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the image may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.


This would avoid a lot of interpretations of received permissions (e.g. Yes you can use it) --Historiograf 03:24, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Isn't this rather broader than what is needed? "I acknowledge that I grant anyone the right use the image in a commercial product, and to modify it according to their needs." This is only true if the resulting work is GFDL, right? - Jmabel | Talk 01:27, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Boilerplate requests for permission. Jkelly 01:45, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Value to the reader[edit]

"If it is possible to replace the publicity image with a new, free, image of similar value to the reader then the free image must be used in preference to the restricted and copyrighted publicity photograph."

I certainly agree; the question is how to measure that value. For example, at Smoosh, we've got a really nice publicity photo; doubtless, someone could go to a gig and get a decent photo, good for purposes of identification, but what is the chance of getting as good an image? - Jmabel | Talk 04:45, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

It would be doing it's job. The additional professional qualities of promo photo would become decorative/aesthetic, and therefore beyond fair use. The JPStalk to me 20:43, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
One aim of wikipedia is to offer a great quality encyclopedia. Illustrations are a part of that. I would go further by saying that if a free licensed photo is made and is of higher quality, the publisher of the original could use it. The publisher put time, energy and funds to make good looking images to have them as widely reused as possible. Example : the Image:Porsche 804.jpg promo photo could be replaced by this CC-by Image:Porsche 804 F1.jpg. Which offers the best value for the editorial content of wikipedia? --Marc Lacoste 22:11, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Since Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia, definitely the Commons image. Garion96 (talk) 23:01, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely: and our major criteria for fair use is the availability of a free alternative. Since there is a free alternative, the promo photo can [not] be fair use. The JPStalk to me 00:00, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I think you meant "can not" there. :) Garion96 (talk) 01:55, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
D'oh. ;) The JPStalk to me 16:32, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Without thinking of the license, which image, A or B, offers the best value for the editorial content of wikipedia? It makes me think, promo photos are considered fair use because Wikipedia no longer uses restrictive licenses. So we should be aware that this restriction reduces the quality of Wikipedia. --Marc Lacoste 12:44, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Both images show us what the car looks like. One might look more professional than the other, but tough. It is not our photograph. We did not go to the expense to create it: studio/photographer/processing, etc. Not only is Wikipedia free content, but its contributors need to take pride that we built it, and not snatched things from other sites. The JPStalk to me 16:32, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Of course it's not wikipedia's image. It's the publisher's, who have supported its creation, but it's not borrowed: it's intended for this kind of use. Should we put a notice along promos reading "This is under fair use because no substitution has been made yet. Please bear in mind that if you upload a picture of it under a free license, it should be removed even if its quality is higher."? --Marc Lacoste 20:08, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
A notice like that exists already. See the template {{Fair use replace}} for on the image page and the template {{Replacethisimage}} on the article where the image is used. Garion96 (talk) 20:12, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Or, put in another way, complete those existing templates by the sentence Beware. Uploading a free licensed picture of the same subject leads to removing this high quality, professional picture. --Marc Lacoste 14:04, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
There are numerous differences in those cars. For just 1 example: the front suspension if i see correctly - Shouldn't a good encyclopedia have room for both images, if possible, to be able to discuss the car in detail and the various mods it has gone through and the reasons for them? (An encyclopedia is a comprehensive compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.) No?--luke 06:56, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Possibly, but not if it violates our free content aim/philosophy. We have external links for more detailed information. Indeed, article would fail to achieve 'good article' or 'featured' status if it contained excessive informtion on a particular point. Snatching copyrighted material actually reduced Wikipedia's quality: it compromises our 'freeness', and it compromises our reputation. The JPStalk to me 08:42, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Not possibly, then. I can't see how you link a bad quality article with the presence of promo material. The main point of wikipedia is to make the best encyclopaedia in the world, free content is only a mean to attain this goal, isn't it? --Marc Lacoste 14:04, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
No, it's not. For Wikipedia, being free content is as important as being an encyclopedia. See Wikipedia:Five pillars. --Abu Badali 15:53, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Relative importance isn't assigned to each of the FIVE PILLARS, although being an encyclopedia would, I suggest, be obviously the most important, as it's fundamental to the others and is listed first in order. Also, consider these policy points:
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community of people interested in building a high-quality encyclopedia in a spirit of mutual respect.
If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore them.
Would appreciate your views. Also on the idea that a detailed article on a particular aspect of knowledge (e.g. on a Porsche 804 including, amongst other aspects of the racing car, structural and other modifications it has undergone and their reasons - which thus could potentially make use of both aforementioned images) which covers the matter fairly and comprehensively is not for us.
I would also like to refer you to this discussion for comment please, as it is rather dated and I see that you take a close interest in these matters. Perhaps you can help on any possible impact the draft new GDFLs may have on our thinking. From what I can see they're being tailored to projects such as ours to some extent, and even maybe Jimbo Wales is involved in the drafting process?
Finally I would be most interested to see evidence that legitimate Fair Use has compromised our reputation. I know of only two instances where Wikipedia has become the object of substantial media attention, and neither was to do with fair use as far as I can see. In one instance we came off well against Encyclopedia Britannica, and the other was the Siegenthaller affair.--luke 08:53, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Debate on English WIKIPEDIA use of fair use and pictures?[edit]

In light of the above "This page is dangerous" by Jimbo and the draft new GDFLs it might be an idea to begin fresh consideration of how Wikipedia is to treat fair use images for the 21st century and the future. I understand the present policy to allow such images was decided by a vote, (see meta:Fair use) so maybe as a start we could have 3 options: allow fair use but under very restricted controlled conditions as Jimmy Wales suggests, don't allow fair use images as most Wikipedias in the world seem to do - or thirdly to allow them under US copyright law as at present.

I suggest the debate, perhaps including invited experts in US and world copyright, experts on images, etc could lead up to a call for consensus at the next Wikimania conference in 2007. This would give very ample time for input and discussion from all sides so Wikipedians arrive well prepared and hopefully able to arrive at consensus during the Conference.--luke 07:36, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Mandatory source and article[edit]

The minimum to do with the templates is to ask for a mandatory source and allowed destination article, à la { { promotional | source | article } }. Then a bot could easily remove abusive images, after having warned the uploader. --Marc Lacoste 21:50, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Vicious circle[edit]

Using promo photos as fair use is dubious from the start. They aren't really FU, but a solution have to be found when banning non-free image licenses. There is a vicious circle between their usage aim and their permission here.

There is two alternatives:

  • put a specific allowed case for copyrighted, non-free images for those coming from a press kit, for which no publisher would licensed it under a non-commercial license. But the non-free interdiction rule is sound.
  • do not put promotional images under a fair use blanket, which is abusive. This would remove every promo. The risk is that not allowing this kind of possibilities for novice uploaders will lead to abusive use of free license tags, in a way too great number to be controlled, and led to the risk of a legal enforcement. --Marc Lacoste 21:50, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Alternative one: Considering we have Category:Promotional images that already seems the case. (that category is a mess though). Garion96 (talk) 23:48, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
At the moment, promo images are fair use and aren't used under a non-free license, as I propose ni the first alternative. They aren't used under a license at all, by the way.--Marc Lacoste 13:05, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Alternative two: Why is it abusive? Fair use on wikipedia is not the same as fair use in law. Basically every image which is not free content is tagged as fair use, which sometimes gives weird results, but does make sense. The goal is, not always possible, to replace all fair use with free content. Concerning uploaders, I don't know. From what I see in commons (they only allow free content there) they do a good job of checking against abuse of the free license tags. Garion96 (talk) 23:48, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
It's abusive because real FU images are as Jimbo said↑ those historic photos, like Elian. only for those irreplaceable. But promo shots are always replaceable, so the FU claim is a bit abusive.I think commons isn't polluted because of the much lower traffic than WP. --Marc Lacoste 13:05, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
More precisely (and I progress on the subject at the time), for promotional product images, the Fair Use claim is only valid when the product isn't available to the public. This noice could be add to the essay and the template,if someone back me up. --Marc Lacoste 06:43, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
One can make a rendering of a person, loosely based on copyrighted images, but which is not a tracing of any of them; such an image would be the artist's own work and thus free. (I'd stay away from Photoshop in doing so, though; such artwork is probably best done by hand.) Historical events may be tougher, because they occurred in such a manner that the way people posed and the artifacts around them were important. However, there may be a way of rendering, say, the Elian Gonzalez incident from a different perspective, through using talent and educated imagination. 19:29, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

So let me ask: should the current Queen's official Canadian portrait be removed? After all, it is theoretically possible that someone could photograph her and release it under a free license. - Jmabel | Talk 03:57, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Or—just to take this out of the realm of theory—given that people are saying that the only valid purpose of these photos is identification and that the higher quality of fair use photos is not a legitimate argument, one could crop her image from a public domain picture on this U.S. Federal Government page:

(FWIW, my own view is that we should do nothing of the sort, and I fail to see the difference between this case and the insistance that the publicity photo be removed from Smoosh, the example I posed above, and which at the moment appears to be about to be deleted.) - Jmabel | Talk 04:05, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

BTW, I was finally able to get that licensed under GFDL. - Jmabel | Talk 07:36, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Marat Safin/Adidas[edit]

I see that the Marat Safin-item has no picture of him. I can find one on the Adidas-site See However, the site says: "For editorial use only! Additional clearance required for commercial, wireless or promotional use. Images may not be altered or modified."

Is it allowed to use these pictures?Jeff5102 18:26, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

No, because we don't accept noncommercial licensed media, and we don't accept "no derivative work" licenses, and, as a living sportsperson, it is possible for someone to take a photograph of the subject and license it appropriately. See Wikipedia:Boilerplate requests for permission to see some examples of polite letters you could send to tennis fans that have photographs asking for them to license them for our use. Jkelly 18:32, 25 October 2006 (UTC)


Would it be a good or bad idea to go through Wikipedia and replace unlicensed promophotos of living persons with placeholder images? --Damian Yerrick () 02:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

It seems a good idea at first. It could prevent editors in good-faith ignorance of the policy from uploading unfree images.
For now, I'm adding <!-- html comments --> explaining no unfree image should be used when I remove an replaceable unfree image from some article (like here). But the suggested image and it's text could be improved a little. Maybe a light-gray siluet, and the text should be short while still able to explain to the average newbie which images can and which can't be used, preferably inviting him to produce a free replacement (I have no idea how to produce such text :P ). --Abu Badali 03:18, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
html comments are a good idea, but not the placeholder image. While it would be educational for editors, for readers (the majority of users), it would be just an eyesore and unnecessary information. ×Meegs 03:36, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

This policy is extremely dangerous[edit]

To repeat arguments I've been making elsewhere, I put myself at exactly the opposite end of the spectrum from Jimbo. Using freely available fair-use publicity photos is the lesser of two evils. For both Wikipedia and the subjects of the photos.

  • It absolutely WILL encourage stalking. Does anyone really think that, if you remove all the pictures of someone from an article because they're theoretically replaceable fair use images, editors will refrain from doing anything other than improving the article text for several years or however long it would take to get free images of the same person? Celebrity bios are, I would guess, probably among our most frequently read articles and we have responded by making several (Lindsey Lohan, Uma Thurman and Celine Dion, for example) into Main Page featured articles. Well-meaning anons or new editors are going to see an article without pictures and replace them with ... something.

    To repeat a hypothetical from elsewhere, suppose someone catches Madonna sitting on a toilet with a camera phone and then uploads the image under a free license. We currently have no grounds for deleting that image, which would of course be freely available to the supermarket tabloids. Certainly a well-meaning editor could remove it, and an administrator delete it under IAR, but afer a while you're going to have to create a policy regarding responsible image creation, and I don't want to imagine the edit wars (and RFCs) that's going to open up ...

    And suppose it's not Madonna? Suppose it's some up and coming actress on a sitcom who merits an article and can't afford a bunch of menacing bodyguards. Are we going to pay for the next Rebecca Schaeffer to have it on her tombstone that her death helped advance the cause of a 100% free-content Internet encyclopedia?

    The real world is not Wikipedia.

  • It is unclear what ultimate goal this policy serves, beyond idealism. The idea behind ending restrictive image licenses was to make it easier for any site, including commercial ones, to scrap content without fear and thus further disseminate the information in it. I understood that. But I cannot see who wouldn't take promo photos of persons to illustrate articles about those persons, and commercial sites must be even more sensitive to dubious fair use claims than we are. (I notice that, for example, seems to have no problem with the picture of Alice Sebold whose tagging as replaceable-therefore-expendable sparked me to find out more about this little debate.

    It seems that the idea is to encourage the wider use of free media by "forcing" more of it to be available. I would reply that those who advocate this, as pointed out above, overestimate Wikipedia's power as a widely read website. That power would, in the real media universe, be available only if the request came from Jimmy Wales himself. A Hollywood publicist is just going to fob off someone calling from an area code in flyover country to his/her assistant's assistant, who probably won't understand the request to release rights and will probably say no if and when s/he finally does, because it's his/her job to say no to ordinary people who want things like that.

    Change is good ... you go first. It's certainly worth pursuing the idea by making such requests of large talent agencies or the like to make mass amounts of pics available online for free use, but as far as they're concerned that's already possible and why should they do something like release rights (in a business where people are instinctively leery of giving anything away legally, no matter how innocuous it sounds at the time). As H.L. Mencken supposedly said, an idealist is one who, upon noticing that the rose smells better than the cabbage, concludes that it would also make a better soup.

    Also, if we are letting the potential concerns of commercial reusers drive our policy, then we are effectively commercializing Wikipedia, even if no ads ever appear here.

  • It fails to distinguish between degrees of replaceability. As I've said elsewhere, it's one thing to spike a fair-use picture of a public beach on the grounds that a fair-use replacement could be created, but another to do so for a living person who may or may not be so available. On the other thread I got a concession that a fair-use picture of Thomas Pynchon or J.D. Salinger would be acceptable as irreplaceable due to their notable reclusiveness. And at the other end are people like Dan Savage. But about, say, Michael Jackson, of whom there are certainly many representative photos available under fair use, yet who is a lot less likely of late to be available for a new good quality free-use image.

    For the time being, I guess, I will just have to put information about a subject's inaccessibility in my fair-use rationales.

  • It will deprecate the quality of Wikipedia articles. If Jimbo says we are better off with no image then a fair-use one, I will say then that we are even better off with no image then with some of the really poor-quality images you're going to get of notable people if you insist on free images of people, and only free images. I would reserve the right to remove such images from articles under those circumstances.

If, as we have all learned like a mantra in discussions here, Wikipedia is a project to create an Internet encyclopedia, not an experiment in online democracy, then is it not just as true that the goal of creating a comprehensive Internet encyclopedia should take at least some precedence over upholding the values of free content? Since we have to admit fair use anyway, what's wrong with being a little generous as far as replaceability goes?

Yes, there has been a lot of fair use abuse here in the past. Let's get rid of the more egregious examples. But, if you would cut down every tree in England to get to the devil, could you stand upright in the wind that would blow then? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Daniel Case (talkcontribs) 18:48, 9 November 2006

Amen. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 19:02, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
This policy is extremely useful. You cited the (featured) article Lindsay Lohan. Did you know the article used to use an unfree image by the time it was featured? It was one of the first images sent to IFD based on the WP:FUC#1 clarification. After some dispute, User:RadioKirk uploaded a new free image and deleted the unfree one. Why the free image wasn't uploaded before? Because we used to allow an (beautiful) unfree one. I hope you understand the goal of this policy. --Abu Badali 13:31, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I do and as a matter of fact I have been searching for, and adding, free-use of images of celebrities of varying degrees. (I like the one of Germaine Greer; I somehow think she would too). But I am trying to say it does not come without downsides.
I have also said, over at the first place I started venting about this, that we need some official guidelines as to when a theoretically replaceable image is difficult enough in practice that we can justify a fair-use image in the meantime. To do a bulk delete without this is just irresponsible, especially that most people are going to find out about this when they get the notice on their talk pages, as I did. Daniel Case 18:08, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, speaking of Lindsay Lohan, you mean the picture that is not showing up all of a sudden, either in the article or on its own page? This gives a whole new meaning to "free image" I suppose ... free of any actual content. Daniel Case 18:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Yup; the "goal of this policy" is to force people to upload cropped, blurry, four-year-old pictures from people lucky enough to have taken them. Guess how many Wikipedia users would have been able to do that for this artist, never mind the vast majority of living entertainers? RadioKirk (u|t|c) 13:50, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
You said: "Wikipedia is a project to create an Internet encyclopedia, not an experiment in online democracy". I didn't find that in the link you provided. Am I missing something? Anyways, my opinion is that we're far much more than an Internet encyclopedia. --Abu Badali 13:33, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The link is a little deeper. Try this, and click on the external link. Daniel Case 18:08, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
What it says is "Wikipedia is not primarily an experiment in Internet democracy. It's a project to write an encyclopedia." (by Jimbo Wales). It doesn't says "Wikipedia is a project to create an Internet encyclopedia". Indeed, a lot of complains about unfree image deletion comes from people that seem to believe Wikipedia's main goal is to build an informative website, instead of a free content encyclopedia. --Abu Badali 18:30, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
You stubbornly refuse to abandon your false assumption that Wikipedia is attempting to build a 100% free-content encyclopedia. We are building a 100% free-text encyclopedia. Any argument that fair use can exist in any way in a 100% free-content encyclopedia collapses instantly. Period. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 21:02, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
This is incorrect. We claim "fair use/fair dealing" for text regularly -- everytime we quote a passage from a book, for instance. We don't make a special text/image distinction such as you're talking about here. If this is a common misunderstanding, it likely is caused by our template system, which we use for image description pages but not for unfree text. Jkelly 21:16, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
That's not quite the point; we are attempting to build an encyclopedia which is freely available to everyone, with as much free content as possible. Nowhere at any time has anyone ever said the encyclopedia must be 100% free content, though all text must be offered free of copyright restrictions with the exception of properly attributed quotes used as sparingly as possible. RadioKirk (u|t|c) 21:29, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

... and the wind screams, "we've already decided; if we ignore you, will you just go away?" RadioKirk (u|t|c) 03:54, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Sometimes these problems fix themselves[edit]

When the subject dies, the image is no longer repeatable and fair use is permitted. Daniel Case 03:21, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Just remember folks, this is for when the person dies of causes not due to your actions. The last thing we want to see is hordes of frustrated editors stalking and killing celebrities in an attempt to make their uploaded images fair use. Tabercil 04:48, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, since a lot of images are being stalked and deleted for being "repeatable", I wouldn't be surprised if that did happen.
At the very least it gives you a reason to hang around recent deaths. Daniel Case 17:45, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

copyright images of living people[edit]

Please take a few moments to look at 2 possible proposals for images of living people on Wikipedia. Would appreciate comments or further suggested wordings before I finalize for voting. The intention is to clear the air on this class of image. There is some discussion on the proposal talk page as well as *here* on talk:fair use. Thanks.--luke 07:03, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a part of the mass media. Electronic Press Kits are explicit licenses to use the material on Wikipedia and on other mass media. For that we do not need a fair use rational. We can even store and distribute (and I think we should) the original high-resolution press images on Wikimedia servers. (A technically feasible solution is to upload the original hi-res photo and immediately replace it with a low-res version for "fair use".)
The issue here is not about use but about reuse. The proposal is not done from the point of view of Wikipedia, but for the interets of (commersial) reusers of Wikipedia content. The license to use and distribute does not give Wikimedia the right to sublicense these rights to reusers. The fair use rational is only needed so that reusers can distribute the content without receiving the original press kit and the associated license. --Petri Krohn 21:29, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Again, if we let the needs of commercial reusers of Wikipedia content determine our policies, we are effectively commercializing Wikipedia whether we run ads or not. Daniel Case 01:24, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Let's put it another way. Wikipedia is not truly free unless there are no restrictions on the re-use of any of the material in it. One test of that bit about 'no restrictions' is that commercial sources can re-use material from Wikipedia. -- Donald Albury 16:14, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Then Wikipedia is not truly free. GFDL imposes quite a few restrictions. - Jmabel | Talk 07:37, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we're not free to add copyright material that does not have a 'free-use' license, such as GFDL. We're not free to add original research. We're not free to engage in personal attacks against subjects of articles or against fellow editors. I guess 'free' is the wrong tree to be barking up. -- Donald Albury 22:44, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikiproject Promotional Photo Advocacy[edit]

Hi! Publicity photos are under attack on Wikipedia. After failures in getting any image deletion stopped or even to get the other side to listen, I'm trying a new tact. I believe people who share my viewpoint (That publicity stills of people have a rightful place on Wikipedia) needed a better place to organize our dissent. So, I set up the framework of a Wikiproject to help save fair use on Wikipedia. Everyone's welcome, especially people who disagree. Wikipedia:WikiProject_Promotional_Photo_Advocacy. --Jeff 06:04, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone have a problem with deleting this, or marking historical? It's not being maintained, and the information is available elseware. If there is anything important maybe it can be merged? - cohesion 01:38, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Deleting would work for me. Since it is an essay tagging it as historical seems strange. Garion96 (talk) 20:20, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Please, do not delete! Mark it as historical and protect. It's an important part of the history of how Wikipedia's tolerance with this kind of non-free image evolved. Indeed, the whole replaceable-fair-use crackdown started with Jimbo's "This page is dangerous" above. --Abu badali (talk) 22:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Ahh, you're right, somehow this page was never on my radar, but the above discussion should be maintained. I'll tag as historical, but leave the essay, and it will be a historical essay I guess. I don't know if it's the only one, but the idea of a historical essay isn't that weird to me. - cohesion 01:35, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Very good reason, I did not thought of that. Garion96 (talk) 19:06, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
The combination seems ok to me too, and the big red x in the historical template should be enough to stop people from taking the essay's advice. ×Meegs 07:57, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
This tag came as quite a shock to me. This is the page I routinely point people to in order for them to understand that not every professional looking portrait of a celebrity qualifies for the {{Non-free promotional}} tag. Also, that tag itself points people here! Where should I and it point them instead? Was this page marked historical simply because Wikipedia doesn't allow nonfree publicity photos of living people? If so, please remember that there are also dead celebrities whom people would like to have images of and for whom no free image has been found. Dead celebrities can only be illustrated with publicity photos if there are no public domain or freely licensed images of them: nonfree screenshots, book covers, album covers, postage stamps, etc. cannot be used to identify the people on them. —Angr 15:56, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
It is just so extraneous, is it really necessary? It seems like just one more place people will have to keep up the policy while introducing instruction creep. The impetus for this came from that talk page Template_talk:Non-free_promotional#Wikipedia:Publicity_photos although I didn't realize it was linked from that template. Should it be? Do you think it is useful in a way that WP:NFC and WP:FURG isn't? I just think the educational benefit is overshadowed by the costs of keeping the page up-to-date and the confusion new users will have if it isn't absolutely in agreement. - cohesion 00:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
I think it is really necessary that we have one page where the term "publicity photo/promotional photo" is clearly defined. (Is there a difference between them? I don't know myself.) Many editors think that any professionally made portrait of a celebrity is a publicity/promotional photo, but as I understand it, only those that are intended for distribution to the media fall under the definition. This needs to be made clear. If there is another place where the term is defined, then you're right, this page is extraneous. But I'm not aware of any place where the definition is clearly spelled out. Now, this page should also make it clear that nonfree publicity/promotional photos of living people currently in the public eye are not allowed, but if I understand the policy correctly, nonfree publicity/promotional photos of dead people, and perhaps living recluses as well, are allowed. —Angr 16:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, I didn't think anyone was using the page, but if you are by all means do with it what you want. Maybe it would be easier if WP:NFC defined these though? But it would probably have to be a lot shorter, and maybe it can't be made any shorter. I don't have strong feelings about this at all though, like I said it confused someone on that template talk page so I thought I'd ask. Maybe someone else will respond? :) My vote is "don't care" though. :D - cohesion 23:52, 15 August 2007 (UTC)


Does this apply to pictures of yourself? Gary "Roach" Sanderson (talk) 18:36, 27 September 2016 (UTC)