Wikipedia talk:Replaceability of fair-use images/Archive 11/19/2006-12/19/2006

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some practical examples[edit]

How would you envisage applying this proposal to, say Russell T. Davies, Aaron T. Beck. Would personal knowledge be needed? Thanks..luke 08:47, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

You'd have to have some sort of discussion based on the criteria, of course, and establish what people knew and what efforts to contact either of them personally or a representative yielded. I don't see anything in either article that could establish anything. Yet.
The question would be, which direction would we default to if a criterion cannot be conclusively met? Daniel Case 22:34, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi, so now you'll see that Prof Beck's image is gone from Wikipedia. I've written to him twice at the address given on his web page, but with not even a response. And Russell Davies's image is not even tagged (a fan site says he is as easy to contact as the Queen, by the way)...any comments please. ...luke 07:57, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Agree with this proposal[edit]

I have carefully read this proposal and I fully agree with it. Although I have been fully executing the current 7-day deletion of "replaceable" images (personally deleting or tagging some 100 images) it is clear that we need good guidelines of what replaceable means. I would ask for a clarification on one point: "If a product, is currently on the market", it counts as replaceable. What about products that used to be on the market, but haven't been for decades? Because many old products no longer being sold are collectibles or displayed in museums (or car shows, for classic and antique automobiles), I think that they fall under replaceable too, and the wording should be changed slightly. Andrew Levine 19:39, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Good point. I hadn't thought about that and I will add appropriate language. Daniel Case 22:35, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

There are also products that are on the market but are exceedingly rare or are distributed in channels not accessible by the general public. Such things as the interiors of luxury yachts or corporate aircraft, aircraft cockpits, the inner workings of large sea-faring vessels, etc. It would be nice to have a criterion allowing promotional pictures available under a fair-use rationale if they are of products, vantage points, or items that would not be encountered or accessible to the general public. -- ChadScott 03:35, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

It appears the proposal has been updated since I last read it, so I think my above concern has been met. -- ChadScott 03:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

This would certainly be an improvement over the de facto current policy in which pretty much everything that gets noticed gets deleted. john k 05:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

One more thing as I consider this more fully: Professional athletes who are still in their playing careers probably fall under the "reasonably replaceable" heading rather than "may not be reasonably replaceable," because sporting events are accessible to the public and the athlete's permission is not required. The exceptions would include players who are retired, or who play in leagues/venues where professional-quality cameras are not permitted (I know that at least some NFL stadiums forbid them). Andrew Levine 07:19, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

That was what I had in mind when I wrote the guidelines, yes. And, to be fair, professional-quality cameras are allowed for media photographers who have sideline passes. I'd love to see someone apply for such a credential strictly to shoot images for us ... I wonder if you'd get it ("hello, wikinews sports desk").
Even if it got disallowed, there would probably be at least a few photographers with passes who'd be tempted to share low-res images here (and, more to the point, would be freelancers not bound by employment terms in which any images they create on the job are their employers' and not their own).
We do have free pictures of athletes in game situations. See this picture of Peyton Manning. Of course, that also illustrates my point elsewhere about unrepresentative pictures ... wouldn't you rather see him in a Colts' uniform than those generic Pro Bowl ones? Daniel Case 07:39, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
I think this gets back to the FUC#1 comment about "adequately conveying the same information." A picture of Manning in civilian garb or in a Pro Bowl uniform does not adequately convey the same information as a picture of him in his Colts uniform. If "adequately conveying the same information" is interpreted as broadly as that, it may as well be taken out, as it is entirely meaningless. john k 15:42, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
But here's a great fan image (taken, I bet, from a good endzone seat) that's also free. It's not impossible. Daniel Case 07:42, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Should our guideline be based on impossibility, or likelihood? Just because it is possible to get a free use image does not mean that we should delete fair use images pre-emptively, imo. If we have to delete perfectly legal promo images for which we don't have replacements, imo we should limit the instances we have to do this to cases where it is obviously genuinely easy to get a free picture, not to cases where it's merely "possible". john k 15:45, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
And on pictures of athletes in action I'd be willing to be flexible. The general public is not always likely to be able to get the shots professionals do. Therefore, such photos of active athletes competing should, at best, have {{fair use replace}} on them. Daniel Case 18:34, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Small difficulty[edit]

  • I'm very pleased someone has written this. It's well done, I must say. However, I have one small difficulty - I think the "At one point in their lives, allowed or is likely to have allowed a public-domain image to have been taken of themselves" criterion is too general, and directly contradicts the pointers on what may not or is not reasonably replaceable. For example, someone could meet any of the following (the "may not" criteria):
      • Makes limited or unscheduled public appearances only (therefore their appearance cannot be predicted), or
      • Rarely grants media interviews or allows few, if any, photographs to be taken of themselves for professional purposes, or
      • Regularly resides or works in a location not generally known or to which access is restricted, or not among non-notable individuals, or
      • Resides in a known location, but distant from population centers, or
      • Does not go about their daily affairs in locations freely accessible to the general public, or
      • Discourages photography of themselves, or permits it only at a distance which can adversely affect the quality and representativeness of an image taken using commonly available photographic equipment.

However, I would hazard to say that in a lot of disputable cases, the inclusionists will cite these, but the deletionist will cite the above phrase to try and get rid of the photo. If that phrase is to be allowed, it should fit in more with what may not be, or what isn't a reasonably accessible and replaceable photo.

I would include politicians and judges in some countries in the "may not" category as well. There are exceptions, but coming from Australia, most of them you can't get anywhere near usually, especially in their work environments. JROBBO 12:51, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

The main reason I wrote that PD exception is because these do exist. That's what we have for Thomas Pynchon, for example, and it's representative because, well, he's not let anyone take a picture of himself since he was in college. Also, we use a heavily-edited PD image for what I would still consider a representative, if dated, lead picture of Michael Jackson.
I think I need more clarity about what is and isn't a representative image. Daniel Case 23:45, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree that this point is a bit off. I'm not sure I understand its utility at all. If we can find a public domain image, then it should be used. If we can't find one, the idea that it's theoretically possible that one already exists shouldn't be used to delete an existing image, I think. john k 14:17, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

That is why I wrote these guidelines. I was sufficiently upset when the image of Alice Sebold I had found, the subtle, shadowed portrait used on the cover of The Lovely Bones was deleted under this new policy, which I hadn't heard about, on the apparent grounds that, since she's alive and not a recluse (never mind that an attempt to find out where she lives (in the sense more specific than "Southern California") just failed on switchboard.com) a free image could be created. Oh, I asked her agent about the photo, and they told me to call up the photogrpaher ... in Italy! Do I get the sense the free-image mujahideen didn't stop and think about things like this when they headed out into the image galleries with their {{replaceable fair use}} tags? Well, one of them did and said that, since he had gotten a lot of "professors and porn stars" to release rights to pictures of themselves, it couldn't be that difficult, could it?
Anyone who has ever had, as part of their work obligations, some responsibility for publicity photos of celebrities knows that you're just better off with fair use, that you are not going to get rights released or Creative Commons licenses that easily. Yes, it's nice when we do. But we can't count on it. That's why the may be replaceable category exists, for these judgement calls.
As for the theoretical possibility that a PD image exists, either they are easily found and used if we aren't already, or they're not. It's easy to settle, usually. Daniel Case 23:45, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Anyone who has ever had, as part of their work obligations, some responsibility for publicity photos of celebrities knows that you're just better off with fair use, that you are not going to get rights released or Creative Commons licenses that easily. This is absolutely on mark. Also, it seems to me that requiring people to release photos of which others may build upon is such a long shot it is unreasonable. Has anyone not stopped to realize that famous living people who release images of themselves allowing derivative works have just allowed someone to do things like nipples more protruding, place horns on their head, and other such things, and then to sell the photo? Which famous person in their right mind would not want to protect themselves from such things? This why most prefer fair use. CyberAnth 22:46, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I was wondering about this is as an issue. Celebrities and their publicists understand, of course, that pictures of themselves will be altered by malicious people out there in response to news events; the question is whether they'd like to be complicit in this themselves by offering up images under a license which permits and encourages this sort of thing.

Maybe we should consider a slight amendment to our image licensing policies allowing the ND endorsement on CC pics of living people when used to identify them? Daniel Case 06:20, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Another item to consider[edit]

There are some countries (such as Japan) which have case law which forbids the taking of photos without the subject's permission, and punishments can include fines and jail time (though rarely the latter). How do we address this in these proposed guidelines? I'm currently attempting to find examples of this, but doing so (searching legal writings) in a second language is not an easy task. So, in the case of Japanese celebrities who rarely, if ever, travel outside of Japan, finding or obtaining free use images is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and I don't think Wikipedia wants to condone lawbreaking just to obtain an elusive free use photo. I don't know if there are any other countries with similar laws, but I imagine they exist. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 07:18, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

What kind of cases are these? Are we talking people getting convicted for taking photots of celebreties performing in public or signing autographs or whatever, or are we talking perverts sticking camera phones up the ladies skirts on packed trains and such? There are usualy degrees of this stuff, and just because something is illegal doesn't nessesarily mean you can never photograph someone without written permission first. Though I'm obviously not familiar with Japanese law. --Sherool (talk) 01:00, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Getting free photos of Japanese celebrities is almost (if not entirely) impossible. Just check out the Japanese Wikipedia and see how many images there are there of celebrities. We have all these fair use image deletionists running around deleting thousands of images that will likely never have a free use equivalent,. They don't listen to anything anyone says about it, and they act as if those of us uploading the images had just crawled out from under a rock and are hardly worth their time. It's very frustrating to deal with them even with detailed fair use rationale provided in addition to the existing fair use templates that are provided. The contracts these celebrities sign with their talent agencies almost always specifically forbid them from releasing any photographs not authorized by the agency, and the agency isn't going to release any of their images into the public domain or under any license that won't let them do whatever they want to do with the photos. That's how they make their money after all. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 05:02, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I believe California has a similar law against publishing a photograph of a person without their consent called the "Right of publicity". Fourdee 03:40, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Love it[edit]

This is much needed. There is too much gray area in "replaceability". I think we need to now have a well worded guideline for what is "representative", as well. I have a problem with the PD guideline as well, but I think that could be fixed by taking out the hypothetical "is likely to" phrase. "Likely" is just too vague of a word. – flamurai (t) 12:04, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, this is something that is very much needed. Many fair-use images are being deleted without any replacement being available, and that damages the encyclopedia (IMO) more than having a fair-use image. —Locke Coletc 23:13, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Dittos. I am seeing images deleted on the grounds that, theoretically, someone could go out and take a free image of them. Well, that is all fine and dandy, but it isnt always practical. IF aa free use image is available, it should be used, but if no free use images exist, it shouldnt give enforcers the right to go out and delete images when no replacement is currently available. I would think that all of us would cooperate in the finding of free use images, but using the policy as a stick for coercion (if I delete the fair use image that will force people to go out and take a photo of the subject and donate it) seems patently unfair and wrong. People are donating their time to make an encyclopedia. That type of coercion against volunteers is insulting. Caper13 01:57, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for working on this. It looks great. – Quadell (talk) (random) 18:38, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Right of publicity[edit]

California's Right of publicity statute and common law precedents may actually prohibit any use of the image of a person without their consent, especially for a commercial purpose which Wikipedia may potentially be used for. Photographing people without their permission may also be an invasion of privacy in some cases. How does this come into play? Fourdee 03:42, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

A challenge[edit]

I'm glad to see this page taking off, especially as it's my first-ever venture into crafting project policy.

Now I have an idea. Let's test these guidelines on some real subjects:

  • Helen Mirren: I noticed when I was working on The Queen after I saw the movie a couple of weeks back (which I highly recommend, BTW), that the article about her lacked both an infobox and an image other than a bunch of stills whose use in an infobox would be impermissible. From what I can find out about her, she seems to be about as public a person as any prominent British actor. Would someone be likely to catch her and take a picture walking around on the streets of Islington, where she lives? If you hung out at the stage door after a theatrical performance and she came out, would she pose? would she want to?

    I know nothing about this ... can our British colleagues speak to this? And if you think you could create a free-use image, would you be interested in actually trying? (Seriously)

  • Anna Wintour: Another Englishwoman, this time in New York. We have no picture currently of the legendary Vogue editor (we did once, but it got bounced for something having to do with bad sourcing and I didn't like it anyway). She appears in public a lot, but at some distance. If I called her office and said I was with Wikipedia and I'd like one minute to take a good free-use picture of her, am I likely to get it? Does anyone want to try? Or can you find a good picture on, say, Flickr and persuade someone to change the licensing? (Actually, I did this right now and — voiláthis picture is CC but with an NC endorsement (plus I wouldn't use it if I had my druthers), and this is great but you'll have to persuade the photographer to release it (And it doesn't sound like he'd be amenable). Try this one ... it would be my fave for the article. (In fact, I'm emailing the photographer right now).

    OK, maybe this was too easy. Daniel Case 04:58, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it was too easy. I got the Wintour photo I wanted (she's wearing sunglasses indoors — very representative) and it now graces the article. Daniel Case 19:40, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The Anna Wintour Experience[edit]

Maybe it wasn't. Hereby hangs a tale that should be read by anyone who wonders why some of us were advocates for less strict fair-use enforcement.

I uploaded the picture to the Commons only to find it deleted the next morning. Apparently the admin read the wrong license tags on the original picture. It took one more cycle and me uploading a screenshot of the Flickr page with the correct licensing indicated to get the image accepted.

So, again, this calls into question the fact that we have no real policy page on dealing with Flickr images. What do we do if, in a situation like this, I can't get communication from the image author that clarified contradictory licensing info there? Is there some sort of default assumption that you stick with the more restrictive license? How does Flickr let this happen, for that matter? Is it some bug in their software that we should be aware of? And what are the implications of the answers to these questions for our replaceability guidelines? Daniel Case 04:31, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Now to try with Dame Helen ... Daniel Case 04:32, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Publicity photos[edit]

I first became aware of this proposed guideline during a discussion regarding the copyright status of Image:Rodneytom.jpg. I feel that the proposed guideline is insufficiently flexible with regard to images that are deliberately created and distributed by their subjects to serve as their illustrations in media. These images are not, in my opinion, truly "repeatable"; in the example I gave as in literally hundreds of other publicity stills that adorn Wikipedia, the subject sat for a carefully-posed studio portrait and presumably approved the end result. A candid snapshot would not accurately repeat the effect.

These images are, again, created for the express purpose of illustrating their subjects. Surely their use for this purpose could not be construed as anything but fair. I do not believe there are any legitimate copyright concerns over using Rodney Tom's press image to illustrate an article on Rodney Tom, nor using Cristine Gregoire's press image to illustrate an article on Christine Gregoire, nor using Jennifer Granholm's press image to illustrate an article on Jennifer Granholm, nor using any of the press photos which are fairly used on Wikipedia. I've seen no evidence of any clear consensus that this should not be the case, and until and unless the community inexplicably decides to purge these fair uses, press photos should not be subject to speedy deletion. VoiceOfReason 22:49, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you, but it seems so far that the consensus has been that we can use press photos only when they are clearly identified at the point of original download as such, with an appropriate license visible, and we have asked to use them. So the {{promophoto}} template seems to say.
This proposal is meant to fill a need the decision to more strictly enforce FUC #1 created: when is an image replaceable? In my experience as well as that of many others here, the original fair-use mujahid were incredibly naive about that. Daniel Case 02:10, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Part of the argument against is not necessarily that it's a problem using a photo on Wikipedia, but that it would be a problem on derivative works (specifically for-profit works). – flamurai (t) 05:58, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't see why this is particularly true, though. Numerous for-profit entities use these kinds of photos. The Internet Movie Database, for instance, is, so far as I can tell, for-profit, and it is not clearly "media," either. john k 07:31, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I strongly agree. Good luck actually getting anywhere with this, though. (you might look at Wikipedia talk:Fair use, if you haven't already). john k 07:31, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Daniel, if by "consensus" you mean "the loud voices of a few", I agree with you. But this is by no means the first silly cause to attract loud voices. I only became aware of this because of the attempted deletion of Image:Rodneytom.jpg (which, I am sorry to say, seems to have led directly to jihadi attacks on Image:Gov_Romney2HRes.jpg and Image:GregoirePicture.jpg), but I am certain that were Wikipedians more aware of this crusade being led by a noisy few, the vast majority would see it for the farce it is.
Harsh? Maybe. Not WP:CIVIL? If not, I'll take my lumps and return after my suspension. But I call it like I see it, and what I see is a handful of people determined to make Wikipedia worse. VoiceOfReason 09:22, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
For the record, the above paragraph(s) is so very well-phrased. Congrats. Tvccs 19:00, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Once again, I empathize. I found out about this little crusade when I got a notice that the picture of Alice Sebold that I had uploaded (basically the B&W book-jacket photo, by far IMO way better and more flattering to the subject than the alternatives, was removed from the page and deleted.
I accepted the rationale for this, even did my bit to find free-use images for other people, but at the same time I knew, from my own work experience, that simply because a subject was living and not a recluse did not mean that it would be easy to take or obtain a good-quality photo of him or her. I thought the original backers of this policy change were incredibly naïve as to how this sort of thing works in the real world, something I could address through relevant work experience. These guidelines are my attempt to mitigate the damage I believe would be done to Wikipedia otherwise. I am pleased to see this discussion happening.
And let me also say that the original genesis of this was an understandable concern that well-meaning novice editors were, despite cautions on the image upload page, assuming that any photo of a celebrity was automatically a publicity photo. However, the solution to that IMO would have been better educating these editors about what genuinely constitutes fair use and what can come under a publicity photo. Someone already wrote an essay on publicity photos that embraces the new FUC #1 standard; your energy on that direction might be better expended commenting over there.
So, here we are trying to fill the gap. Since Jimbo threw his weight behind the change I think this is the best we can do. Daniel Case 17:19, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
If you think the above essay on Publicity photos means anything in reality in regards to FUC #1, think again. Admin Quadell, the lead Fair Use of living persons image destroyer of present, completely blew this off as functionally meaningless, and recently destroyed 29 of my images that were mostly very carefully obtained, in some cases personally from the artists themselves, fair use/publicity photos. Those of us that have cited this essay, especially on the now-endless Chowbok Rfc pages, have been targeted and attacked by those that take a near-absolutist position on the issue of fair use of living persons, and we have seen dozens of valuable Wikipedia contributors left angry, and in some cases simply leaving the project, with no ability to have their work left alone until a quality free image is found to replace it. And so far, at least, no admin seems willing to do anything to stop it. My answer at this point is simply to stop adding images at all to Wikipedia, and ask others to consider doing the same until this policy and the way it's being enforced are modified and the images reverted. Tvccs 02:42, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Of course he's ignoring it, it's an essay, after all, which is not policy. If we develop some reality-based guidelines as to what constitutes replaceability, and they become policy, then that behavior can result in a desysopping. But not until. We have a chance to do the right thing here. Let's. Daniel Case 03:48, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
It's not so much the same effect as the same information we are after. If the promo photo is just used to show what someone looks like then a candid photo can usualy do the job just as well. The principle of only allowing fair use images if it is not possible to create a free licensed alternative have been part of the fair use criterea that all our fair use images are supposed to follow for over a year. Most people have been ignoring it so back in June an amendment to add some "teeth" to the enforcement process was proposed and finaly approved after a couple of months of debate by a solid consensus. Granted some have claimed that this was not a valid consensus since despite beeing anounced multiple times and debated for months a lot of people never knew about it since they never bother with policy stuff. Though frankly the same can be said about every single policy and guideline we have... Anyway yes in some cases images may have been deleted somewhat indiscriminately so a clearification would be helpfull, and some bouts of incivility haven't helped either. I do wish people would stop with all the "holy war" imagery and hostility, and asume some good faith on the part of those why try to keep Wikipedia as close to it's free content goals as possible though. Believe it or not this "push" to enforce the fair use criterea is not motivated by a desire to destroy the Wikipedia or upset people who have uploaded lots of fair use images. --Sherool (talk) 14:26, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Does a candid shot do as good a job illustrating a person as a posed studio portrait? If so, why do people spend big bucks for the latter? Do you seriously think that an amateur trundling down to Olympia and shouting, "Hey, Governor!" with EasyCam at the ready will produce an image that's a suitable replacement for a publicity photo? Regarding the debate you reference, which went on for a whopping three weeks, I certainly didn't see any of the announcements it was going on, and my initial claim still stands: if more Wikipedians were aware that there was a determined effort on the part of a few people to expunge publicity stills from the encyclopedia, most of them would oppose it. However, I'm not even necessarily arguing against the rule adopted by consensus in the debate you cite, I'm arguing whether these images violate the fair use criteria to begin with. I continue to maintain that the definition of replaceable that you're using renders {{promophoto}} completely moot, since every publicity photo of a famous living person who isn't an utter recluse is replaceable according to you.
Regarding WP:AGF, I haven't accused anybody of bad faith. Not that this invalidates the comparisons to a holy war; holy warriors have the purest of faith as well. I do not doubt that those who are pushing to purge Wikipedia of perfectly legitimate uses of promotional photos have good intentions. See "Hell, road to, paving materials of." VoiceOfReason 15:29, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
So long as it's not just a blurry dark shadow in the picture then yes, the quality may not be the same, but the point of these photos are usualy just to show what a person looks like, and most candid photos can do that just fine. You don't need a photo of someone with 10 layers of makeup and professional lighitng that have been photoshopped to prefecting in order to do that. The fair use criterea itself have stated that fair use should only used if "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information" since October 4 2005 (the point is the information the image brings to the article, not the "eye candy factor"). The referenced amendment was just about actualy getting around to enforcing it (and the other 9 criterea).
So long as it's not just a blurry dark shadow in the picture ...
See here. I see someone brightened this up some, thank God, but it's still a subpar picture compared to its fair-use predecessor (which was clearly identified as a promo photo at its source). And this instance was touted as a successful replacement of a fair-use image by a free one. Daniel Case 18:45, 5 December 2006 (UTC)


I know it's not a standard thing to do to follow policy debates closely. Most of us, after all, are interested mainly in creating and improving content. But it would still have helped to try to identify some frequent uploaders of such images and include them in the conversation. Without that effort, it was inevitable that there would be some seriously alienated people since so many of that group (myself included) only found out when we were notified that images we had uploaded were to be deleted unless we could improve the fair-use rationale or find a free one. No, the policy change wasn't intended to do so. But it had that effect in practice, and complaining about the complaints isn't helpful. Some understanding, please. Daniel Case 18:45, 5 December 2006 (UTC)


Anouncements about the proposal was made here, here and here. It was also prominently linked to from the WP:FUC page itself since late Febrary. I think most users would just have been anoyed if a bot ran around and notified them about every new policy proposal, so I'm not sure how much more could have been done rely.
The AGF remark was not directed at you spesificay, though saying that people would would prefeer a free licensed candid photo over a unfree promo photo are "determined to make Wikipedia worse" does seem to asume malice rater than good faith on theyr part. --Sherool (talk) 17:47, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
WP:COOL. OK? Let's try to drop the efforts to get in the last dig and see what we can all do to work together and resolve this. Daniel Case 18:45, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
A couple of clarifications. First of all, I'm not alleging any misfeasance on the part of those who drove the policy change; I'm just asserting the (self-evident, I hope) fact that people with an interest in seeing the policy adopted were more likely to know about it. If nothing else, those who made the proposal to begin with can be expected to be likelier to personally notify those who agree with them. There's nothing wrong with that, I'm just saying that the cadre of editors who were aware of the policy proposal is not necessarily representative of the community as a whole.
Second of all, my comment about "making Wikipedia worse" (which I stand by) went to effect, not motivation. Regardless of the motives of those who are making it their personal cause to attempt to delete virtually every promotional image on Wikipedia, the net effect of their actions is to harm Wikipedia. I have no reason to doubt that they believe they are acting for the best, but I have every reason to doubt that they are in fact acting for the best.
So the policy is No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information. Sections in boldface are subject to interpretation, and my problem here is the insistence on overly-restrictive interpretations. To see the effects, consider the prospect of a talented artist carefully crafting a digital representation of a living person, dead person, or past event. Surely such a representation would convey the same information as a photograph, and it could be created albeit at the expense of a great deal of time and effort, and would be the equivalent , at least for Wikipedia's purposes. Does it follow, then, that every fairly-used copyrighted image is replaceable? An argument could be made, if one uses a very strict interpretation of the policy, but such an interpretation would be nonsensical as it would render WP:FU completely meaningless.
So, I would argue, is the apparent claim of some that any publicity photo of a living person who is not entirely reclusive is "replaceable". I would argue that a candid shot of (say) Gov. Gregoire at a public function does not convey the same information as her promotional photo, which conveys the information, "This is how this person chooses to be represented when her mugshot is called for." I ask you again, under your interpretation of the policy, is {{promophoto}} valid for any living non-recluse? VoiceOfReason 19:02, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Daniel, please incorporate what came out of this debate into your policy proposal regarding the importance of the context. The images of the same quality may or may not adequately convey the essensial info depending on who the article is about. And how reasonably is to expect the free image to become available depends on what quality image would suffice in a particular context. Since the entire fairuse concept is context dependent, we should illustrate this issue by an example, I think.

What quality image would suffice for the particular article? How likely can we obtain an adequate image for the article about a, say, politician, journalist or academic? The case of the college professor is different from the professional entetainer's especially in cases when the subject's looks played important role in making them what they are: pop-stars, actors, models, etc. For the latter cases a requirement of the quality of the image to convey the higly essensial info is much higher of course. Also, such subjects are less likely to release their images under free license. (Attempts to obtain such images should be enocuraged of course). --Irpen 04:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

groups of people[edit]

There are questions many have involving musical bands and other predefined groups of people. There is some discussion on this at User:Quadell/non-free photos of bands. – Quadell (talk) (random) 18:40, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

"in the context of the specific article"[edit]

I am just curious what follows from this phrase re: ongoing debates. For example, does this mean that a free image of an actor at a premiere would not be acceptable in an article about a fictional character that actor plays because the context of the article is the fictional work? Or that a free image of all four KISS members out-of-makeup would not preclude the inclusion of a fair use image of the members in makeup? Or that a free image of Boy George from present day would not preclude a fair use image of him from his period of fame? – flamurai (t) 04:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

For example, does this mean that a free image of an actor at a premiere would not be acceptable in an article about a fictional character that actor plays because the context of the article is the fictional work?
It would mean a slam-dunk fair-use justification, IMO. These guidelines are intended to help us decide when a fair-use image can get bounced because there's a strong possibility someone could take a new picture of whoever or whatever and freely license it. Daniel Case 06:26, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

What's important is how likely is the reasonably obtainable free pic would provide the adequate info in the context of the particular article. If the actor's and a model's article is demonstrated by the amateur shot, the article is devoid of highly important information for the reader. The importance of the context needs to be emphasized in the policy much stronger than whether someone is simply alive. --Irpen 06:38, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

This change still allows too many images to be called "replacable"[edit]

As it is, this change would still allow too many images to be considered replacable. For example, this proposal would consider a photo of someone who "Frequently grants interviews in the news media or allows themselves to be photographed by professional photographers, ..." to be replacable. That would cover far too many people. Just because a super-model is often photographed by professional photographers, that is not reason to mark their photo as replacable. Their professional photography sessions still would not let an average person take a photo of them, and those professional photographers are not very likely to put their photos (which they like to get paid for) into the public domain. This provision should be removed. Johntex\talk 05:26, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

That's why there are other criteria. A lot depends on what consensus emerges on whether someone permits photos to taken of themselves in a casual way. No, I would say a supermodel article should probably be illustrated by a picture taken by a professional, because you and I aren't going to get into fashion shows because we're Wikipedians.
Some rewording is in order, I guess, but I can't do it right now. Daniel Case 06:20, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Contradictory criteria[edit]

As I've made clear, I think these proposed criteria are silly. But not only that, it's self-contradictory. First there's the no-nos:

An image of a living person is reasonably replaceable if that person: Makes regular, scheduled public appearances, or Frequently grants interviews in the news media or allows themselves to be photographed by professional photographers, or...

Emphasis added. If a person makes public appearances OR is frequently interviewed, his publicity photo is replaceable. Compare and contrast with:

An image of a living person may not be reasonably replaceable if that person: Makes limited or unscheduled public appearances only (therefore their appearance cannot be predicted), or Rarely grants media interviews or allows few, if any, photographs to be taken of themselves for professional purposes, or ...

Again, "or". Makes no sense. If any one of the six listed criteria for replaceability is met, the first part says the image is replaceable. Not "may be", there's no room for wiggle, anybody who makes regular appearances or gives interviews or has a frickin' address is replaceable. Period. This is then contradicted by the second part which implies that failure to meet any of the criteria might be grounds for irreplaceability.

Here's my proposal: Copyrighted photographs which are intended for promotional purposes may be fairly used to illustrate articles, as long as they are appropriately tagged with {{promophoto}}. You wanna see whether the community consensus would support that? VoiceOfReason 06:14, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, we lost that battle. We need to write effective and enforceable guidelines for replaceability. I appreciate the input on the wording (I never thought what I originally put up would become final policy anyway; that's why it's a proposal) but we can't refight the war that got us here. Daniel Case 06:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I'll agree that we need effective and enforceable guidelines to comply with the policy... at least for now. I maintain that the policy should be changed and would appreciate a link to the discussion which achieved consensus that this should be made policy so I can marshal counterarguments for a proposed change. In the meantime, the guidelines should be written as liberally as possible while still conforming to the policy. The guideline's mandate is that a copyrighted image may only be fairly used if "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information." Adequately give the same information is flexible enough to allow for interpretation. What information is conveyed by a publicity photo? Not merely "this is how this person looks", not even necessarily "this is how this person looks" considering how heavily made-up such photos are. Publicity photos convey the information, "This is the way this person wants to be perceived in the public eye." No free equivalent could reasonably be created to adequately express this same information. Any replaceability guideline could certainly account for that. VoiceOfReason 06:43, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Your change doesn't fix the problem. There are two blocks, one of disqualifying criteria, one of qualifying criteria, each with six separate elements. One of them needs to be or for all six, the other needs to be and for all six. VoiceOfReason 06:45, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I have been thinking more recently that it needs to be in the form of a table. There are two axes to balance here: likelihood that a quality, representative image can be created when the subject is available; and opportunity to take such an image. Some sort of sliding scale needs to be established. What if you have someone who doesn't make a lot of public appearances, and often unscheduled, but when they do has no objections to being photographed? And on the other end, a lot of celebrities are publicly visible, yet as the guidelines state not always easy for an amateur to photograph?

I'll be working on this later. Daniel Case 14:23, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Maps and scientific content[edit]

ON several occasions this "replaceable" tag has been put on maps concerning scientific and controversial matters, such as the Chernobyl catastrophe. It should appears clearly that such maps may not be replaced by a Wikipedian's drawing, which carries no legitimity whatsoever (in contrast with a map used in fair use from scientific sources, such as Nature or otherwise). Maybe someone following this policy here could add a subsection about such scientific images, which, by their very nature, needs to show their scientific origins. Claiming a Wikipedian can replace it by free content is only claiming that: - anybody can draw his map, and all truths are equivalents - Wikipedia is entitled to copy a map from a scientific source, and disguise its origins, claiming it is free content Both are not acceptable solutions. Please consider carefully the scientific value of such images. Free content is nice and very well, but probably not appropriate for such topics (except, of course, if what you need is just a drawing of a molecule, which any university student should be able to do, and which carries no controversial value). Cheers! Lapaz 15:18, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

A user made map is no less legitemate than a user made article. As long as it's done acurately based on the source data and the sources are properly referenced such maps are just fine. Raw information is not copyrightable, so it's perfectly fine to make our own maps so long as the information they are based on is referenced, just like it is fine to use copyrighed text as source info for writing our own articles about the subject. --Sherool (talk) 17:13, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

A reminder why we need these guidelines[edit]

See this little furball I've gotten myself into. I uploaded, some time ago, a photo of Warren Moon to that article, showing him playing football, for the infobox (it already has another free-use one I found, of him and Marshall Faulk playing Madden).

Note: Discussion in question has now been moved here, where it's more appopriate.

I wrote a fair-use rationale pointing out the historical, unrepeatable nature of the image. Apparently that wasn't enough for someone, who also seems to believe that the Commons standard, under which copyrighted NFL logos visible in the photo are a no-no, is applicable to the English-language Wikipedia as well.

To his credit, he admits he may be wrong. So I referred him here as well. Daniel Case 17:03, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Photos that include copyrighted and/or trademarked logos are allowed on the English Wikipedia. Johntex\talk 17:25, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I know that, too. But look at all the ridiculous confusion this new FUC has caused. Daniel Case 19:53, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

So is this now policy?[edit]

I'm seeing images tagged for deletion which link to this page as for an explanation. As far as I can tell, its still being debated. What's the story? --OneCyclone 05:05, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I have seen these links too. While I'm not sure if it's proper to do so when it's still a proposal, it does look like some people are very behind it. Daniel Case 17:42, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Once again, way too lax[edit]

Just like the existing fair use policy, this suggestion is simply way too lax. The opening statement "...we are also equally committed to the goal of producing a quality encyclopedia. To do so we must permit some non-free material for critical commentary" is simply a lie. We don't have to permit any non-free material to produce a quality encyclopedia. Wikipedias in other languages that don't allow "fair use" images are just as high-quality as the English Wikipedia. Better probably, because their editors spend time writing and improving articles rather than tracking down the "prettiest" picture of their favorite celebrity to upload, and their admins don't have to waste time tracking down, tagging, and deleting policy-violating images, like admins here do. Moving on to the specific suggestions, the fact that we do have free images of Britney Spears, Madonna, Tom Cruise, and Barbra Streisand proves that "fair use" images of even top celebrities are completely replaceable. The section defining when a "fair use" image "may not be reasonably replaceable" needs to be deleted and the examples merged with the previous section defining when a "fair use" image "is reasonably replaceable". Finally, this page should not be made a separate policy; the policy already exists and has not changed significantly in this regard in over a year. This page should just be a guideline or essay explaining the definition of "replaceable" as used in FUC 1. —Angr 20:31, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Let's see how Anger is pushing his point of view and abusing his power. Get all the details here: Image talk:John F. MacArthur, Jr.jpg. CyberAnth 12:06, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
The section defining when an image may not be replaceable is staying in until someone can prove to me there would not be any gray areas. I am not bowing to your idea of what our fair-use policy should be, simply trying to interpret the existing one. So should you. Daniel Case 06:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I am trying to interpret the existing one. My idea of what our fair-use policy should be is actually much simpler: No fair use images ever under any circumstances. That would have no gray areas and would be much easier to implement and enforce. —Angr 07:04, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Angr's assesmnet is very blunt (and false}, IMO. It is needless to repeat what's wrong with it since the user (hopefully) read many past discussions. The non-interested in content users are what plagues this project. --Irpen 20:40, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. The users who are only interested in adding images that don't belong to them rather than actually adding free, encyclopedic content are very much what plagues this project. —Angr 20:44, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Any examples of such users among those who oppose this recent activation of deletionism? --Irpen 20:53, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Way to assume good faith there, Angr. I must admit, I have been caught out. My sole purpose for being here is to plague Wikipedia by deliberately and maliciously adding images that don't belong to me. How did you ever find out?
I have yet to hear one single pro-deletionist tell me how it is possible for an image other than a promotional photo to convey the information "this is how the subject wishes to be represented to the public". If a different photo cannot convey that information, which is plainly conveyed by a promo photo, it is not a replacement. VoiceOfReason 22:24, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
And I have yet to hear anyone give a convincing argument that one single "fair use" image--whether "replaceable" or not--is actually necessary for the article it was included in. There is not one fair use image in this whole encyclopedia that's indispensable. —Angr 05:32, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
"Necessary"? It is not "necessary" to have an encyclopedia at all. I've combed the policies and guidelines and seen nothing that makes "necessity" a requirement. VoiceOfReason 16:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, maybe I'm not making clear the difference between when I'm discussing existing policy and when I'm voicing my opinion. I know that existing policy does not require fair-use images to be necessary; that's why I described it above as "too lax". My opinion is that fair-use images ought to be allowed only when they are absolutely necessary, i.e. when the article would be incomprehensible without them. My further opinion is that since that will never be the case, Wikipedia should not allow fair-use images under any circumstances. My further opinion is that doing so would not significantly degrade the quality of the encyclopedia, because as German Wikipedia and Spanish Wikipedia show, it is possible to have a high-quality encyclopedia without a single fair-use image in it. —Angr 07:17, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
=:::When such statements are made I start to doubt whether the user is familiar with the subject at all. Illustrations do not provide indispensable info... Very interesting. --Irpen 05:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Right, illustrations make a nice addition but none of them are indispensable. We could be a text-only encyclopedia and still be just as high-quality as we are now. Fortunately, there's no reason to do without public domain and freely licensed images, but at the same time, there's no reason to include "fair use" images. —Angr 05:58, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, maybe I'm not making clear the difference between when I'm discussing existing policy and when I'm voicing my opinion.

This is the most telling thing you've posted here, and confirms my suspicions, as well as the worst things I've heard said about some admins.

I can't help but worry that, when you enforce policy, you are using your own opinion as a guide for your actions and confusing it with policy? This is a very dangerous trait in someone given administrative privileges. I always try to assume good faith, and hope you don't let your feelings for free images get in the way of neutrally enforcing policy, but if you ever get RFC'd it looks like that attitude would make it hard to argue that you shouldn't be desysopped.

I would also be concerned that, as I pointed out, the statement that fritzed you out so much was a direct quote from the fair use criteria, yet you responded as if it were an attempt to subvert policy when it already is, in fact, policy. I thus cannot help but wonder if you are not, in fact, forcing a de facto policy change against all fair-use images through your actions.

And a third area of concern on my part would be that you really don't have much to say about the actual policy proposal under discussion save that it is "too lax" (without specifying how) and that it should merely be a guideline (so you can invoke WP:IAR freely to render it meaningless in enforcing your opinion policy) that defines "replaceability". Hmm ... I thought that was exactly what it was trying to do. Do you mean that it should define "replaceability" in that very narrow sense that you're comfortable with?

Do you wonder why some people here don't trust you? In one sentence you did more to explain that than any of the rest of us ever could. Daniel Case 19:09, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

No, don't worry; I don't confuse policy with my opinions when I enforce policy. If I did I would delete all fair use images regardless of how they're tagged. Any actions I take in my administrative capacity follow from existing policy; I have even removed "replaceable" tags from "fair-use" images that are not in fact replaceable (images of people who have since died, of bands that have since broken up, of products no longer on the market), much as it disgusted me to have to do so. I only delete images that are actually tagged as violating existing policy. The statement that, as you put it, "fritzed me out" so much does indeed come from the preamble to the fair use policy, but is not actually one of the fair use criteria itself. It's already been reworded to "may" instead of "must" and discussion is ongoing as to rewording it further. I don't have anything much to say about this policy proposal itself, because there isn't much to say about it. It doesn't really add much to existing policy; it's just an attempt to define "replaceable". I couldn't possibly support it, of course, but then I couldn't possibly support the current fair use policy either (which is not to say I can't enforce it). —Angr 19:37, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Alright, that was the right thing to say. Thank you.

With that, can we please all take this discussion to the talk page linked up top? That's where it really belongs. Daniel Case 15:45, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Me-thinks Anger is double-tounged. Get all the details here: Image talk:John F. MacArthur, Jr.jpg. CyberAnth 12:06, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary break to ease editing[edit]

This is nonsense. Any article about an artist whose work is still under copyright (e.g. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein), or about a work of art that is still under copyright, suffers a massive decrease in quality if you can't use a fair use image. The idea that such articles (and articles about albums like Sgt. Pepper's, or about iconic photographs, or whatever) would not lose any quality by removing all fair use images is ridiculous. Can you really say that the Jackson Pollock article, which for some reason contains no images, does not suffer for it? This argument seems to be based on the premise that images themselves aren't important or useful, which is clearly nonsense. john k 16:24, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Either we are a text-only encyclopedia or we have our current policies. You cannot write about, say, an album without including a picture of its cover ... and there's no way to do that free-use. Could you write about Yes, for example, without writing about the Roger Dean cover imagery? Try describing it in print. There are very few writers here that good.

Or for that matter, trying writing about Dean or any other contemporary artist whose works are still copyrighted without showing their work. Daniel Case 06:34, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

You can't write about an album without including a picture of its cover? Gee, tell that to the authors of de:Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. There's a whole section describing the cover of the album in words, without showing it anywhere. And at the bottom of the article there's a link to an external site that does have a picture of the cover. de:Call Off the Search and de:The Joshua Tree also managed to become featured articles without showing the cover art. —Angr 06:52, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Wow, this guy Anger is a radical extremist that needs removal from adminship. CyberAnth 21:26, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
A description of a picture in words is now an adequate substitute for the picture itself? That's total nonsense. And since the German wikipedia does not allow fair use images, it stands to reason that articles would be able to reach featured status without including them, even if they aren't as good as they would otherwise be as a result. john k 16:26, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Might I suggest that this discussion is getting a little sidetracked here? The question of banning album covers or representative works of art from near-contemporary artists isn't seriously on the table--I wouldn't support it, and neither would most of the rest of the supposed fair use "mujahideen". --RobthTalk 17:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Welcome to reductio ad absurdum. If your argument leads inexorably to an absurd conclusion, your argument is faulty. If loosely-defined "replaceability" justifies removal of a copyrighted but fairly-used image, it follows that album covers which can be described rather than photographed cannot be illustrated with photographs of their artwork. If you think that's absurd, perhaps you should reconsider your notion of "replaceability". VoiceOfReason 18:05, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Angr seems to be seriously presenting the argument that album covers and works of art do not improve wikipedia articles, and this is the basis for his various proposed changes to policies. I know that you, Rob, and various other people with whom I disagree about other fair use related issues would not go as far as Angr, and I disagree with VoiceOfReason that your argument leads inexorably to Angr's. But I do think Angr's argument is worth refuting, especially as he has repeatedly said many absurd things, and as there are some people, at least, who seem to wish to ban fair use entirely. john k 18:47, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I meant to say that you can't write about some albums without discussing their covers (Obviously, you could get away without showing the cover of, say, Back in Black). But those articles prove some of my points, besides the obvious one that that is not a restriction the authors chose for themselves.

First, this causes dilution of encyclopedic content. The German Sgt. Pepper article has a long section describing the cover. Did it really need to? Can you effectively convey that information in just words?

Second, there are some deeper issues. The Joshua Tree article grasps at photographic straws. Why does it need that picture of the waterfalls? It seems there is some accompanying text about the themes and images in the lyrics. My experience with articles I've developed from the German WP is that they can have some surprisingly POV, subjective text, things we would never accept over here in any article, much less an FA. Is that a function of the prohibitions against using album or book covers? It's worth pondering. (However, I like that pic of the Joshua tree. If it had been grayscale and framed in gold and black, I think it could have stood in for the album cover). Daniel Case 07:11, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

To respond to VoiceOfReason's argument, the point is that our articles don't need a picture that depicts "how the subject wishes to be presented to the public", in a narrowly defined endorsed-publicity-photo sense; We want a picture that depicts the person. To say that a certain aspect of an image cannot be replaced is not enough; it must be an aspect that we need. An image of a car taken on March 3, 2005 is not replaceable, since any image of that car taken in the future will not be from March 3,2005; but we don't need that specific irreplaceable aspect of the image. That's an extreme and silly case, obviously, but it makes the point; the image has to be irreplaceable for our use, and I do not think that "this is an endorsed publicity shot" is an aspect of a photograph that we need. Note that your argument would call for replacing all currently existing amateur free images with publicity shots, since those free images are not endorsed publicity shots. This position is thoroughly at odds with the free-content goals of Wikipedia. --RobthTalk 06:28, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
"We" want a picture that (merely) depicts the person? This is the royal "we", I'm assuming? Or am I mistaken, and you have the authority to speak for all Wikipedians? To continue your flawed analogy to demonstrate its flaw: an image of a car taken on March 3, 2005 is perfectly replaceable with a functionally identical image of that same car taken on March 4, 2005... but an image of that car polished to a mirror sheen on a pedestal is not replaceable by an image of that same car taken on a dirty city street during a rainstorm. The same information is not conveyed. Regarding your attempted demonstration of the flaw in my argument, I am at a total loss to see how it follows from my argument that free images should be replaced by unfree images. Please amplify.
But never fear; your "side" is sure to "win" this argument, because as is very very often the case, the fanatics care about the issue a lot more than the sane people do. I know that I, for one, am becoming weary of it. You'll win, your crusade will succeed, the encyclopedia will be purged of irreplaceable fair use images, and Wikipedia will be a worse place for it. Congratulations. VoiceOfReason 16:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You argued that promotional fair use images could not be replaced, as no free use image could ever be their equivalent. As I pointed out in my March 3 example above, merely lacking an equivalent in one sense or another does not make an image irreplaceable; it must be impossible to create an image that would adequately serve in its place in the article it appears in. Thus, if you argue that promotional photos cannot be replaced, you are making the case that no image but a promotional image adequately serves to illustrate a person. If this is the case, then articles of people which are currently illustrated by free image are inadequately illustrated at the moment, and those free images should be replaced with irreplaceable promotional images that would adequately illustrate the person. So, a simple question: can an article about a living person ever be adequately illustrated by a free image (presumably taken by an amateur photographer at a public appearance)? --RobthTalk 17:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Your logic is faulty. The replaceability policy states that a copyrighted image must be replaced if a free image could adequately convey the same information; it does not follow therefore that a free image must be replaced by a promotional photo which conveys more information. The policy says nothing about adequacy in achieving a particular purpose, it talks of adequacy in conveying the same information. A promotional photo conveys the same information as a free photo (and more), while a free photo does not convey the same information as a promotional photo. VoiceOfReason 18:05, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You are legalistically reading a specific part of the policy while ignoring the larger policy and the purpose of the policy. The reason we have images is to illustrate articles; if an article can be adequately illustrated by a free image (existing or creatable), then that is the image we want for the article, and the policy states that we do not accept fair use images for that subject. If no adequate free image can be created, then we use a fair use image. Fair use criterion #8 establishes the grounds on which we use fair use images in our articles; they must convey information that significantly adds to the article--"(e.g. identify the subject of an article, or specifically illustrate relevant points or sections within the text)". If a free image can replace the fair use image for the purpose that made that fair use image permissible in the first place, it does not matter if the free image also matches such ancillary characteristics of the image as "is an endorsed promotional photo" or "was taken on March 3, 2005". --RobthTalk 18:59, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
"Larger... purpose of the policy?" And what, pray tell, might that be? What larger purpose is served by demanding that unless people go around with their PowerShots and take candid photographs of the literally tens of thousands of people who have helpfully provided images to illustrate articles on themselves, those articles must go unillustrated? Oh, I know the stock answer: we want to create an encyclopedia that is, as much as possible, completely unencumbered and may be reused for any purpose whatsoever without fear of running afoul of copyright restrictions. Well, guess what? That applies equally as well to images of album and videogame artwork, and anybody who reused those images for commercial gain very well might find himself in trouble with the copyright holders. Fortunately, nobody need fear stumbling into copyright trouble in ignorance, since all such images are clearly marked as copyrighted -- and fairly used. You can't escape the trap by claiming that adequate replacements "can be" created for one category and not the other; surely one "can" create a reasonable representation of an album cover using wholly original material, avoiding the need to fairly use somebody else's copyrighted work. But if such were the criteria for "replaceability" of album covers, a bare fraction of articles on albums would be illustrated. And with these outlandishly restrictive criteria applied, a bare fraction of articles on people will be illustrated, but you and yours don't seem to care. I will cheerfully reverse my position if somebody can come up with a good reason why promotional photos should be verboten, but nobody's been able to come up with one better than "that's policy"... relying on a "legalistic reading" of the policy (specifically, the words "equivalent", "could be created", and "the same information") to reach that conclusion. VoiceOfReason 05:47, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Promotional photos are not verboten; fair use images that might reasonably be replaced by free images are not permitted. You said, "surely one "can" create a reasonable representation of an album cover using wholly original material". This is completely incorrect. Albumcovers are not replaceable, because it is impossible to create a replacement image that would be free of copyright encumberment; any imitation of that albumcover would be a derivative work of the original cover, and would thus be subject to the original cover's copyright. Same goes for fictional characters, book covers, screenshots (when used for commentary on the film itself), and many other of the broad categories that we have tags for. You may wish to read up on copyright law before making assertions of this sort. --RobthTalk

06:39, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

I thank you for the mild amusement your first sentence gave me; it's roughly equivalent to "apples aren't forbidden, fruit are forbidden." Can you provide any example of a promotional photo which could not be replaced by an equivalent image conveying the same information... as long as "could be replaced", "equivalent" and "the same information" are interpreted as the promophoto jihadis insist on interpreting them? I can sit down and paint any person living or dead and license said painting under the GFDL; mind you, it might not be a very good painting, but what of it, as long as it conveys "the same information"? Regarding the status of derivative works under copyright law, I am well familiar with it... for example, I understand why this was not an infringement when Warhol painted it, nor is it an infringement when it remains in Wikipedia. You may wish to read up on copyright law yourself before advising others to read up on copyright law. Now, as for derivative works, I saw this on Wikipedia and was horrified by the blatant and unconscionable fair use that was going on, and knowing how much the legally-allowed fair use of copyrighted images to illustrate encyclopedia articles really raises the ire of some people, I took it upon myself to create the following GFDL'd replacement. Tell me, who would argue that this image infringes on the source material's copyright? Who would argue that it fails to convey "the same information" as the original, copyrighted work? Tell me what information, if any, is missing and I'll be happy to add it. Once we've nailed this down, we can just go ahead and delete every single album cover in the encyclopedia as a violation of WP:FUCked up. Or, if you disagree with this course of action, tell me what qualitative difference makes Image:TheDoorsLiveInDetroitalbumcover.jpg irreplaceable while Image:RodneyTom.jpg wasn't. VoiceOfReason 07:44, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
The Warhol image would be considered a fair use of the Campbell's soup label on Warhol's part. The Doors image you have created is not GFDL. It is a derivative work of the original albumcover (it duplicates the composition of the original, which is a major creative element), and could only be used under fair use. Your point about painting/drawing pictures of people is well taken; the reason the policy is not being enforced in this way is that consensus has been that, while taking photos of people (or other subjects) is a reasonable possibility, expecting someone with good enough the skills to make a recognizable drawing to come along and draw a new image is more of a long shot. If you wish to change this, you should probably make your case on the main fair use talk page, where a broader audience could be reached. --RobthTalk 15:22, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I can't speak for Voice of Reason, but my answer to that is right below this. Daniel Case 17:52, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem with amateur pictures, as long as they make a quality effort to represent the subject. I believe my picture of Ted Sorensen is as good as anything taken for a book cover might be.

But things like this, when this was available as a clearly-indicated promo photo alternative, should give any Wikipedian pause. How bad does a freely-licensed image have to be before even the mujahideen here agree that it does not adequately convey the information intended? Daniel Case 06:44, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

First, I would say that characterizing the work of many of us who have added fair-use publicity photos to Wikipedia as "tracking down the 'prettiest' picture of their favorite celebrity to upload" amounts to a personal attack which he should retract and apologize for immediately, since the sneer in his voice is so practically audible I had to turn my speaker volume down. Also, it is inaccurate and he should know that ... my own edit history shows that uploading pictures and writing and editing are eminently compatible. I should also add that I have spent a great deal of time finding and adding free-use images (including Barbra Streisand) as well where they were available.

And it is for this reason that this needs to be policy. We have already seen far too many instances where "replaceability" was whatever some deleting admin thought it was (usually, unsurprisingly, it was replaceable). My aim in drafting these (and they are so not done) was to define it in a way that no one could argue with one way or the other.

The bit about free vs. non-free material is quoted directly from the fair use criteria. If you wish to amend them, be my guest. It's irrelevant what degree of quality the non-English Wikipedias have achieved with only free images; they did this in spite of overly restrictive copyright laws. I think if you asked them, they'd gladly prefer to work under U.S. copyright law and the greater freedom it allows for most fair use. Daniel Case 22:31, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

If I had made a personal attack against anyone, I would apologize for it. —Angr 05:32, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I assume, then, that you find the rest of my arguments as irrefutable as I do? Daniel Case 06:34, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
(1) you had and (2) you did not. Never mind. Who cares really? And I request other users to spend time writing content and discussing/developing policies rather than on demanding appologies from Angr. Why would that be so crucial? Besides, he did not attack you as a person but as a Wikipedia user. Always a good idea to separate these and avoid taking attacks close to heart. --Irpen 05:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You were the one who described some people as "non-interested in content users". I was simply agreeing with you. —Angr 05:58, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

A suggestion[edit]

How about anyone agitating for easy replaceability of fair-use images of people find a living subject currently represented by a fair-use image, wow us with the Illustrator, Inkscape or whatever computer-assisted artistic skills we all know they're keeping in reserve, and show us all a realistic, representative completely free-use drawing of that person?

The nice thing is that we could depict the subjects very freely. We could show Britney Spears out partying. We could show celebrities snorting coke. Now that's representative, and free-use!

Seriously, I think that without a plan to replace all the images you'd have to bounce, this policy change was a really dumb thing to do. Daniel Case 06:55, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

What policy change? Replaceable fair-use images have never been allowed, for as long as Wikipedia has had a fair use policy. —Angr 07:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
This decision, to allow administrators to define replaceability with the delete button. Frankly, we put the cart before the horse there. We should have done what we're doing now before everyone got mad at each other, then amended the FUC to show we weren't kidding around. Daniel Case 07:16, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
During that decision (and you were there at the time), someone got it exactly right:

Until you get some professionalism into the system all this will achieve is more hamfisted amateurism making more bureaucracy. Get the systems and the law right first, then the application.

Daniel Case 07:21, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Law? What does law have to do with anything? There's no law requiring Wikipedia to be a free content encyclopedia; that was the founders' decision, and one that most editors were (or should have been) aware of when they signed up to participate. —Angr 07:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You don't need to be so literal. I was quoting another user in the original amendment consensus. By "law", I think he means policy. Daniel Case 15:29, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
If Wikipedia has even one 'fair use' image then it isn't an utterly free content encyclopedia. I doubt that anyone truly believes we can both be an adequate encyclopedia AND have absolutely zero 'fair use' images. If you are discussing a work of art - you can't do that without showing the work (at low resolution, etc, etc) - and until it comes out of copyright in a hundred years or so there is no prospect of getting a free version of it - so we either use 'fair use' - or we have an embarrasing hole in our encyclopedic coverage. This is always going to be a matter of degree - not a matter of absolutes - Wikipedia can be mostly free - or 95% free or 99% free - but 100% is an unattainable goal and mindlessly trashing articles in an attempt to push towards that last 1% or whatever is destructive and divisive and is NOT good for Wikipedia.
What is urgently needed is a better standard for the four common cases:
  1. Fair use images that can never be replaced because they are a one-of-a-kind or something - a work of art - or the only existing photo of a dead person - or some historical event.
  2. Fair use images that could perhaps theoretically be replaced but which are just too important to allow us to remove them prior to a free use image 'appearing' - a photograph of a car that was made 60 years ago and only three still exist and only one is on public display and it's in some obscure museum in Poland. Some Wikipedian might one day go there and take the photograph - but it could take a few years and we simply can't be without a photo in the meantime.
  3. Fair use images that are easily replaced, or (worse) that we may even already have replacements for but are simply too lazy to use. I frequently remove corporate publicity photos from articles about cars - because the cars are all over the place and you can usually walk down the street, find an actual car and take a photo of it. There is no excuse for using 'fair use' under these circumstances.
  4. Fair use images that are simply not important to the article. If the article is no worse off without the image - then let's just get rid of it. If someone comes up with a free version of it - then fine - maybe they should put it into the article - but if not - we really don't care.
Clearly images in the first category should not be removed by rabid fanatics. Equally obviously, images in the third and fourth categories need to be removed as fast as we reasonably can. In the middle, we have images where we reluctantly have to use 'fair use' whilst encouraging editors to work hard to try to get that vital missing photograph. We need guidelines otherwise we'll have people removing images that are in the first or second category without discussion because they believe them to be in the third or fourth category. The project page we're discussing is the right kind of idea - but I think it's flawed because it fails to distinguish the three cases and clearly state the criteria for the boundaries between those cases.
Another issue that needs to be addressed urgently is the degree of discussion that goes on prior to removal. If you are removing one dubious photo - then "Be Bold" - just do it. If you are removing a dozen photos then you'd better discuss it with the principle editors of the articles you are going to affect. If you are planning on removing hundreds to thousands of photos then you need to come to a major Wiki forum such as the Village Pump and make sure there is a strong consensus before you start rampaging though the encyclopedia upsetting hundreds of people and possibly destroying thousands of hours of careful work.
SteveBaker 18:03, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
"I doubt that anyone truly believes we can both be an adequate encyclopedia AND have absolutely zero 'fair use' images." No, in fact there are people who truly believe that. I'm one of them. 100% free is not an unattainable goal, because both German and Spanish Wikipedias, for example, are high-quality encyclopedias that have achieved that goal. There's no reason at all why English Wikipedia couldn't do it too. Not only would Wikipedia then better achieve its goal of being a free content encyclopedia, but I believe the quality would improve, because it would be easier for admins to maintain. I have to spend a lot of time cleaning up images here--tracking down those that violate policy and tagging them, and then deleting the ones that have been tagged long enough. At the moment there's an enormous backlog of policy-violating fair use images waiting to be deleted. If Wikipedia simply didn't allow any unfree images at all, I and other admins could devote more of our time to writing and improving articles rather than cleaning up the mess of images we have to deal with. And that would lead to an overall increase in quality. —Angr 20:40, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
And the German and Spanish Wikipedias must then have no images of album covers or deceased persons or artists in their "prime" or DVD covers or or or...Your position, however "noble", is the absolute radical fringe, and the vast majority of those of us who use who use proper fair use images find Wikipedia better with than without them, as would the vast majority of our readers. You would readily gut the photography department at every newspaper on the planet following your philosophy. This entire situation is reminiscent of the internees running the proverbial asylum. Tvccs 02:46, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, I doubted that anyone would be that far out on the fringe - but I guess I was wrong. Wow! Well - let's see whether the German and Spanish Wikipedias suffer for adhering to this radical viewpoint. Take the article I've worked on the most: Mini - it's about a type of car. It contains a 'fair use' image which contains the first design sketch of the car and a photo of the prototype of the car. There is no concievable way to get this image as a GFDL - so it's 'fair use' or nothing. This image gives significant information about the design of the car and how it came about - it shows the prototype of the car and (in my opinion) adds greatly to the encyclopeadic value. Now let's look at the German and Spanish versions of that page. Urgh - they suck! Yes, you can make a wiki without fair use content - but will it be a truly great encyclopedia? I think not. I'd be amused to hear what you think would be a viable free alternative in this specific case? SteveBaker 06:53, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

'The absolute radical fringe' - that says it all. And Anger is already living out his radical fringe, apparently following his own agenda in Wikipedia, a one-man unilateral show. See Image_talk:John_F._MacArthur,_Jr.jpg for an example of this POV pushing needs-to-read-and-heed-don't be a dick "admin" in action. Is there a way to get these kinds of "admins" yanked from their position? CyberAnth 12:24, 23 December 2006 (UTC)