Commons:AI-generated media

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AI-generated images of the Wikimedia Commons project logo

Media generated by artificial intelligence present unique challenges for licensing, attribution, and scope evaluation. As the technology is rapidly developing, and there are many legal and ethical gray areas concerning AI-generated media, best practices may change rapidly.

Are AI-generated media within the Commons project scope?[edit]

Per the Commons project scope, only media that are realistically useful for an educational purpose should be hosted on Commons. Just because an AI image is interesting, pretty, or looks like a work of art, that doesn't mean that it is necessarily within the scope of Commons. AI media that lack a realistic educational use may be nominated for deletion.

Can AI-generated media be lawfully hosted on Commons?[edit]

Copyrights of person prompting the AI[edit]


In the United States and most other jurisdictions,[1] only works by human authors qualify for copyright protection. In 2022 and 2023, the US Copyright Office repeatedly confirmed that this means that AI-created artworks that lack human authorship are ineligible for copyright.[2][3][4] The Commons community has rejected deletion requests that relied on such copyright claims, and tagged images generated by models such as DALL-E as {{PD-algorithm}}.

However, in the United Kingdom there is a protection for AI-generated media:

Unlike most other countries, the UK protects computer-generated works which do not have a human creator (s178 CDPA). The law designates the author of such a work as “the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken” (s9(3) CDPA). Protection lasts for 50 years from the date the work is made (s12(7) CDPA).[5]

In deletion requests, it may therefore be necessary to determine whether the work was generated in the United Kingdom, and if this can be affirmed, deletion may be necessary.

Copyrights of AI providers[edit]

Although some AI providers may claim copyright ownership over generated works, such claims are unlikely to be legally valid or enforceable. This includes claims by AI providers that generated images cannot be used for commercial purposes (for example, Midjourney's free tier does not allow commercial use, but this is unlikely to be legally enforceable as Midjourney images are not copyrighted).

Copyrights of authors whose works were used to train the AI[edit]

This AI-generated artwork is a derivative work of the original Mona Lisa.

Most image-generating AI models were trained using works that are protected by copyright. In some cases, such models can produce images that contain major copyrightable elements of those copyrighted training images, making these outputs derivative works. Accordingly, there is a risk that AI-generated art uploaded on Commons may violate the rights of the authors of the original works.

Special case: intentionally derivative works[edit]

See also: Commons:Derivative works.

When using prompts intended to imitate the style of a particular artist, there is a risk that the output will be a derivative work of specific works by that artist. If those works are not yet in the public domain, it is possible that the output constitutes a copyright infringement. If clear similarities to specific copyrighted works are evident, those images should be nominated for deletion.

Special case: fan art[edit]

See also: Commons:Fan art.

Images that depict characters from or are based on proprietary works such as movies, TV shows, computer games, comic books or manga/anime might qualify as derivative works under copyright law. If the underlying work is copyrighted and not freely licensed, publication of such derivative works probably constitutes a copyright infringement. See the guideline on fan art for more specific guidance on how to distinguish infringing from non-infringing fan art.

Copyright of AI-media modified by humans[edit]

The United States Copyright Office has ruled that while individual images generated by Artificial Intelligence cannot be copyrighted, significant modifications by a human author can be. For example, in the webcomic Zarya of the Dawn, the images are generated by Midjourney (and are thus not copyrighted). However, the composition of the pages, the arrangement of the images, and the story are all copyrighted by a human.[4] When choosing whether to upload a piece of AI-generated media, make sure that it does not have sufficient human contributions that could be copyrighted.

Defamation and harassment[edit]

Material that harasses, insults or defames a living person or a group of people should not be hosted on Commons under the Wikimedia Terms of Use and COM:DIGNITY. Questionable material should be discussed in a deletion request; in serious or repeated cases, the uploader or files in question should be reported to the administrators' noticeboard.

Terms of use of AI providers[edit]

Per Commons:Non-copyright restrictions, "non-copyright related restrictions are not considered relevant to the freedom requirements of Commons". If a user violates the terms of use of an AI provider, that is a matter between them and the provider. The terms of use do not affect Commons, the rights of reusers, or the works themselves.

How should AI-generated media be handled?[edit]


When giving attribution for an AI-generated media file, best practice is to give the name of the specific AI engine used, followed by the name of the person who created the prompt. For example:

Author: Midjourney‎ AI; prompted by Jane Doe

If the file is a collaboration between a human and an AI (e.g. a human added original creative content other than the prompt), both should be listed as authors:

Author: Jane Doe and Midjourney‎ AI

If the file is a derivative work of an existing work (e.g. AI-assisted colorization of an old black-and-white photograph), the author of the original should be listed first:

Photograph by Ansel Adams; colorized with Colorme‎ AI


Whenever you upload an AI-generated image (or other media file), you are expected to document the prompt used to generate the media in the file description, and identify the software that generated the media.


All AI-generated media should include the {{PD-algorithm}} licensing tag on the file page unless they have been substantially modified by a human or clearly derive from a specific non-AI-generated work.

Categorization and templates[edit]

Proper categorization of AI-generated media is important to make the files easier to find and, in particular, to distinguish from other images.

Discussions relating to AI media[edit]

See also: Category:AI-generation related deletion requests.

Copyright concerns with AI images[edit]


Fictional characters[edit]

Out of scope concerns with AI images[edit]

Attribution concerns with AI images[edit]

See also[edit]