Commons:But it's my own work!

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You probably came to this page because someone has tagged one of your uploads for deletion. You may be upset that they are calling your work a copyright violation or demanding proof that you actually own the work. But understand that we are all volunteers here, and the person who tagged your image is likely acting under good-faith suspicion about the origins of the file, which you can help clear up by following the steps below.

First of all, is it actually your own work? In most countries, if someone else takes a picture of you, the photographer is the copyright holder unless explicitly transferred to you in writing, even if you have paid to have the picture taken. (see also work for hire)

Here are common reasons why people might nominate your files for deletion:

  1. The file is my own work, and it has been previously published on another website, including social media. In that case, you will need to update the posting on that other website to add a free license or email us a license release; please read Commons:Volunteer Response Team (VRT) for details on the procedure. Note that if there are doubts as to whether the website owner / social media account holder is really the author of the work, you may be asked to provide further evidence in line with the second point below.
  2. The file is my own work, and it has not been previously published on another website. There are a variety of reasons why someone might nominate such an image for deletion:
    1. The image is of low resolution (e.g. below 3 MP) and/or the EXIF metadata either is missing or indicates it was downloaded from Facebook/Instagram/Messenger. This is by far the most common reason, as such images are very likely to be taken from the Internet rather than self-made. To allay these suspicions, you can upload the original, unedited, uncropped file with full EXIF metadata attached.
    2. The image contains a watermark or its metadata contains a Creator or Copyright holder field that does not match your username. Usually, explaining the situation surrounding your pseudonyms will suffice if you are really the same person; our general practice is to trust people to tell the truth unless there are reasons to believe otherwise, though in some cases you may be asked for additional evidence. However, you still need to address all other concerns listed above.
    3. The image contains you as a subject. The copyright holder of a portrait is the photographer, not the subject, so others might question why you are the copyright holder of a photo of yourself. Usually, stating that it is a selfie will suffice if that is really the case; our general practice is to trust people to tell the truth unless there are reasons to believe otherwise, though in some cases you may be asked for additional evidence. Note that even if we are convinced the image is properly licensed, it may still not comply with Commons:Project scope, which requires that all files be realistically useful for an educational purpose. Unless you are notable enough for a Wikipedia article or are a significant contributor to at least one Wikimedia project, photos of you are generally not in scope and will be deleted.
    4. The image looks very professional, such as a studio portrait, book cover, movie poster, etc. Please contact COM:VRT and they will follow up with further details. It will be helpful to use an email address associated with your work, if you have one.
    5. The image depicts a work created by someone else, such as a building, sculpture, toy, book, painting, etc. This is what we call a derivative work. In order to avoid deletion of your photograph, the original work being depicted must satisfy one of the following:
      1. The work is not subject to copyright, either because the copyright is expired (e.g. an old sculpture) or because the work is ineligible for copyright protection (e.g. a microwave oven).
      2. The work is located in a public place in a jurisdiction that allows freedom of panorama (e.g. buildings in the United States), or so little of the work is shown as to fall under de minimis (e.g. a panoramic cityscape that happens to include a billboard ad incidentally).
      3. The copyright holder of the work agrees to the terms of the free license. Please have them contact COM:VRT.
  3. My company/organization is the copyright holder of the file. In that case, unless the free license is stated on their web pages, you will need to email us a license release from an official email account of your company/organization. The email address should either match the domain of your official website or be listed on the Contact page of your website.
  4. If none of the above applies, please contact COM:VRT and they will be able to assist you.

Now that you have the evidence you need to prove your authorship, it is time to challenge the deletion:

  1. If the image is nominated for regular deletion at Commons:Deletion requests (DR), you should respond to the individual DR for the file with your justification.
  2. If the image is nominated for speedy deletion (e.g. {{copyvio}}) or seven-day deletion (e.g. {{no permission since}}), then:
    1. If you intend to send an email to COM:VRT, then you should replace the deletion tag with {{subst:PP}} to indicate that the file is awaiting VRT confirmation. You will have 30 days to successfully confirm the license release before the file is deleted.
    2. In all other cases (e.g. you have uploaded the original version of the image with metadata or wish to provide an explanation why the image is not a copyright violation), click the "Challenge speedy deletion" button to convert the tag into a regular DR.

If you are not the copyright holder: This page is not for you. Please follow the instructions at Commons:Volunteer Response Team on how to secure a free license release from the copyright holder, or make sure that the source field on the file description page points to a page where the free licence is stated.

See also