Commons:Alter Wikimedia Commons policy to allow Wikimedia logos

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  • Phase I : Discussion
  • Phase II : Consultation
  • Phase III : Implementation
  • Phase IV : Application

Proposing alternative technical solutions, end when we have real solutions
Consultation about keeping the logos on commons and changing commons policy or implementing technical alternative solutions (on meta)
Implementation of technical solutions if need be
Application project wide
Please keep all discussions on the talk page


Considering that the debate comes back once in a while of whether we should or should not host on Wikimedia Commons the Wikimedia logos, I suggest we vote about changing the policy and be done with it. notafish }<';> 00:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I have made a big mistake in proposing this as such. I am changing the form and scope of the proposal so as to avoid any misunderstanding. The decision has been made to copyright the Wikimedia logos, the necessary authorizations have been sought from the original authors and have been agreed upon. Asking the Foundation to change its logo copyright policy is not an option. Therefore, we need to find technical solutions to avoid the logos coming up on VfD over and over again. This is what this page is all about. Once possible technical solutions have been proposed, they should be presented to the community at large on meta and a project-wide vote should be launched to allow everyone to express themselves. Once the consultation is over, the solution chosen will have to be implemented and applied. notafish }<';> 12:50, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Please refer to: Wikimedia and more specifically to Category:CopyrightByWikimedia for a complete list of Wikimedia logos.


The Wikimedia logos (or derivatives) fail to comply with Commons policy of free content only and are tagged with the {{Copyright by Wikimedia}} tag, which states:

The Wikimedia Logo


This image is copyrighted by the Wikimedia foundation. It is one of the official logos or designs used by the Wikimedia foundation or by one of its projects. Notwithstanding any other statement on this page this image has not been licensed under the GFDL.
© & ™ All rights reserved, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc..


It is proposed that the Commons policy (which already states this fact on 00:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)) be altered once and for all to allow the hosting of Wikimedia logos on Wikimedia Commons.


In case of an unfavorable vote (ie. Wikimedia logos should be deleted from Commons), implementation of the vote -Phase III can only happen when a suitable alternative approach to dealing with the logo issue has been found.

One proposed approach is based on MediaWiki's ability to render URLs like "" directly as the images they link to. This feature is currently disabled on Wikimedia wikis because it makes it easy to embed unwanted images like pornography. However, MediaWiki now contains code that would allow it to be selectively enabled for one URL path, such as "".

The logos could then all be moved into that directory on the Wikimedia servers, and be used across Wikimedia projects using the same syntax (the URL) without having to re-upload them on each wiki. The same approach could be used for other non-free images that are used in the user interface, such as the official Creative Commons licensing icons. The disadvantages of this approach are that image description pages (which show license information) are not available, and that the normal wiki image syntax for scaling and framing does not work (different sizes like small, medium, large would have to be provided in the aforementioned directory).

Others have suggested that Wikimedia should only be using free logos. However, the only reason the logos are copyrighted by Wikimedia is that the Wikimedia organization has requested copyright transfers from all logo artists. The artists themselves would almost certainly be willing to provide the logos as free content if Wikimedia asked them to and, the other way around, Wikimedia would almost certainly not accept freely licensed logos unless it was convinced of a change in its logo policy.

I find this to be a step backwards in the building of our identity and trademark. I am totally against even thinking about this. A decision has been made, the decision stays. That we keep or not the logos on commons is another matter. We cannot challenge every other month a decision that has been made by the Foundation, because this leads to endless debates. ' notafish }<';> 12:50, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Related to that, it has been proposed that the Wikimedia Commons could allow logos which are under terms that allow free use in a context where they merely describe the represented organization or company, rather than appropriating its identity or alleging a relationship of any kind. It has been further suggested that the Wikimedia logos should be licensed in this fashion. In this scenario, the Wikimedia Commons logos would not be an exception to a rule. They would only have to be deleted if Wikimedia, as an organization, refuses to license them in this manner.

Further reading[edit]

Formal proposition (to be lauched as consultation on Meta)[edit]

Yes, keep the Wikimedia logos on Commons, make exception for Wikimedia explicit in licensing policy[edit]

  • Pros
  • Cons

No, the policy should not be altered and Wikimedia Commons should not be allowed to host Wikimedia logos, here are possible alternative solutions[edit]

Create a "non-free" directory on the servers, then move all Wikimedia logos there in different size variants and only refer to them using magic URLs[edit]

  • Explanation

Only upload logos locally to each project, never to the Commons [may require local projects to change their policies or even allow uploads if they currently don't][edit]

  • Explanation