Commons:Essential information

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Dialog-information.svg Each media file available on Wikimedia Commons must be under a free license or in the public domain, and should have as much information about its copyright status as possible. Specifically, besides the licensing template, you should make sure that other people have enough information (source and/or creator data) to verify the claimed copyright status.

Where did the file come from?

In order to make sure that the claimed copyright status is accurate, the file description page needs to mention where a file came from. This information allows others to verify if the licensing is correct and the file meets the licensing criteria to be used by anyone, for any purpose, even commercially. Source information should be provided in the source= field of the {{Information}} template:

  • Mark files that you have entirely created yourself with {{own}} or {{self-photographed}} for photos.
  • For files originally from external websites, provide at least a link to the page the image is displayed on. If this page does not fully explain the copyright status of the file, provide another link to a page dealing with the website's content copyright, such as its terms of use.
  • For content in the public domain, it is important to know the date the content was created to judge whether its copyright has truly expired already. Information on the lifespan of the creator is also useful. In cases of art which is many centuries old, this is obviously less important than for, say, a 20th century photograph.
  • For files transferred from another Wikimedia project such as Wikipedia, see Commons:Moving to Commons.

What is the copyright status of the file?

A licensing template must be included on the file's description page in order to ensure that the file is freely usable and modifiable under our licensing criteria ("by anyone, for any purpose, even commercially"). If the file's description page doesn't contain a licensing template, then we can't be sure if the file meets our criteria; it might in fact be a copyright violation. Furthermore, it's important for potential reusers to know how to properly reuse the file – some licenses, for example, require one to name the copyright holder of the file ("attribution") and to apply the same license to derivative works ("share-alike"). Licensing templates are usually placed below a == {{int:license-header}} == section header and above categories.

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