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Shortcut: COM:OTRS

OTRS Noticeboard
Main OTRS-related pages
OTRS volunteer interface
An image that received its permission for use via OTRS

OTRS stands for Open-source Ticket Request System. OTRS is a tool for tracking online support requests, and is used by the Wikimedia projects, including Commons, to manage and archive e-mail conversations. The main use of OTRS in relation to Commons is to verify and archive licensing permissions.

In some cases, sending e-mail to OTRS may be required in order to provide evidence that the copyright holder has given permission to publish a file under a free license. Such evidence should be sent to (or a language specific queue). OTRS is also used to handle e-mail reports of copyright violations.

E-mails sent to OTRS are handled by a multilingual team of trusted volunteers. Each topic is assigned a unique ticket number to keep related e-mails together and to ensure that correspondence can be found and re-examined at a later date. The correspondence is not visible to the public.

Disclaimer: E-mail to this address is reviewed and responded to by volunteers from our user community. Please understand that the Foundation cannot guarantee confidential treatment of any sensitive information you include in your message.

Each ticket will be reviewed by a volunteer. If there is sufficient evidence of a valid permission, the volunteer will mark the file(s) concerned as reviewed. The volunteer will also act to restore any files which may have been deleted before the permission could be verified, so when following the procedure described here, there is no need to request undeletion. If there is not sufficient evidence, the volunteer may request additional information from the correspondent. Volunteers will also act to ensure that any copyright violations that come to their attention are deleted.

The number of active Commons OTRS volunteers is quite small in relation to the number of e-mails received. The current backlog for tickets in English is approximately 60 days, so apologies for the delay. Experienced Commons editors are encouraged to join our team of volunteers and improve our response times.

Inquiries about the validity or status of an OTRS ticket can be made at the OTRS Noticeboard.

Licensing images: when do I contact OTRS?

I have received permission to upload the image to Commons.
Please forward us the permission to the address listed above. We require that the owner makes a clear statement that they release the image under a free license. To help prevent confusion or misunderstandings we really prefer one of the email templates be used. Permission grants must specifically contain a free license grant and may not merely give permissions for Commons or Wikipedia. If you have already uploaded the image to Commons, follow the instructions on Template:OP.
I am the copyright owner but my picture has been previously published.
Please send us a clear statement that you wish to release your image (with a link) under a specific free license. See Commons:Email templates for the preferred forms.
I regularly publish my pictures elsewhere and want to avoid the hurdle of sending permission statements for every upload.
Please send us a clear statement that your Commons account (or some other Commons account) is authorized to licence your works, either any work or some set or works, e.g. "my images from event X, 2013-10-15".
I am the copyright owner and my image is being hosted on Commons without permission.
Send us an e-mail (to with as much information as possible, such as who you are and where the document was published previously.

When contacting OTRS is unnecessary

I took the image myself and it hasn't been previously published (and there is no other copyright involved).

Just follow the instructions found on the Commons:Upload page, unless the image is of outstanding quality or there is some other reason your authorship may be doubted.

I do not have permission for the image and it has not been released under a free license

Commons can only accept images that are under a free license or in the public domain.

I found the image on Flickr and it was released under a free license there.

Commons has a procedure in place for reviewing those images. Please have a look on Commons:Flickr images.

If you are not the copyright holder

If you are not the copyright holder, and the work is not in the public domain or available under a Commons-compatible free license, you need to contact the copyright holder:

  1. Before you upload the file to Commons, contact the copyright holder and ask them to release the work under a free license.
    • The copyright holder must choose one of the licenses permitted at Commons; in particular, restricting use to Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects is not acceptable. See Commons:Email templates for a recommended reply from the author.
  2. When you receive a reply, please check that the license authorized by the copyright holder is appropriate to Commons. If so, upload the image to Commons, then tag the file {{subst:OP}} to add a dated OTRS pending notification.
  3. Following this, forward the e-mail with the author's clear statement of permission to, including the full header and the previously exchanged correspondence with the copyright holder, and a link to the image on Commons.
    • Be sure to include the image information on the origin of it (source) and authorized by the copyright license (which should be in the e-mail).
  4. A volunteer will later check the email in OTRS to verify that all is well with the permission sent by the author and, if so, they will replace the {{OTRS pending}} with {{PermissionOTRS}}.

(If you are the copyright holder writing to confirm license for a previously published work you have uploaded, you should, of course, send the permission letter yourself.)

Declaration of consent for all enquiries

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Due to the large number of ambiguous answers to enquiries concerning a permission of reuse for an image, text or similar (such as "I allow Wikipedia to reuse my photos") it is advisable to use a standard declaration of consent in the e-mail, point to it in the email, which can be returned by the author/copyright owner in the email reply. The precedent below should be amended, as necessary, with the required additional information. Note that "WORK" and "LICENSE" should not appear in the emailed reply as they should be replaced by details of the image and license. If the link to the file is not available online, you may upload the file on Commons with the {{OTRS pending}} template and have the author link to it in the declaration of consent.

Note that you must change this text in 3 places: A URL to your work (image/sound/video), a license and date and name. Additionally, please include the URL of the image as located on Wikimedia Commons for which you are providing permission in the email.


I hereby affirm that CHOOSE ONE: [I, (name here), am] OR [(copyright holder's name) is] the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of [SPECIFY THE WORK HERE - describe the work to be released in detail, attach the work to the email, or give the URL of the work if online]

I agree to publish that work under the free license STANDARD CHOICE; SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TYPE OF LICENSE: [ "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International".]

I acknowledge that by doing so I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product or otherwise, and to modify it according to their needs, provided that they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.

I am aware that this agreement is not limited to Wikipedia or related sites.

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

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

[SENDER'S NAME AND DETAILS (to allow future verification of authenticity)]
[SENDER'S AUTHORITY (Are you the copyright-holder, director, appointed representative of, etc.)]

Type of license

In the above example, the license granted is the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.

You may choose at least one type of license from our list of free licenses. All licenses we use have similar intentions. You must state the specific license and, if available, its version: CC-BY-SA 4.0 or Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 4.0 are acceptably specific, just stating Creative Commons license, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, or CC-BY-SA (without the version number) is not.


Email address

E-Mail the permission e-mails to our email response team ("OTRS") at

The email you send must come from an email address that we can recognize. For instance, if you are releasing images from a website, your email address must be associated with the website or listed on the contact page of the website. If you are releasing a work that is not available online, you may be required to provide proof of your identity. If you are releasing a work where you are acting on the copyright holder's behalf, you may be required to provide proof of authorization to work on the copyright holder's behalf.

Before sending the email

  • Before you send the e-mail, ensure that you've removed all the comments from the above template.
  • Replace the template text (such as name) with your own details.
  • You must clearly identify the content that you're permitting us to use. Something like "I am creator of the images used on XYZ page" is NOT sufficient. You must provide exact URL link(s) to the content or attach the content with the e-mail. For images, we prefer that you upload them to Wikimedia Commons with the {{OTRS pending}} template, and provide the URLs of the uploaded images in your e-mail.

Templates to use on image pages

  • Users who have sent a permission to OTRS but haven't received confirmation yet can use {{subst:OP}} to tell others that it's in progress.
  • OTRS volunteers can use {{subst:OR|id=number or ticket=URL}} when the permission has been received but further clarification or communication is needed.
  • OTRS volunteers can use {{PermissionOTRS|id=number or ticket=URL}} when the permission has been accepted and archived in the Wikimedia OTRS system.

See also

On Commons

On other projects