Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

This Wikimedia Commons page is used for general discussions relating to copyright and license issues, and for discussions relating to specific files' copyright issues. Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days and sections tagged with {{section resolved|1=~~~~}} may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

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  1. One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: "Only free content is allowed." Please do not ask why unfree material is not allowed at Wikimedia Commons or suggest that allowing it would be a good thing.
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Combining a Wikipedia screenshot with own photograph[edit]

As I want to show a comparison of German Wikipedia's main page in the desktop browser version and in the Wikipedia App, I created this image: File:Hauptseite 01 november 2017 desktop und app vergleich.jpg. It contains a screenshot of the desktop version and a photograph of my smartphone displaying the app. Not very good quality, granted, but it will do its job for the comparison. However, it took me much more time to think through and apply the correct licensing (I hope) than creating and uploading this image. The browser and phone screenshots contain a total of five embedded pictures (two of them are the same one), two of them are not PD and require separate attribution in derivative works, e.g. File:A selection of cucurbits from Alkmaar, The Netherlands 05.jpg. I found {{Pictures in Wikimedia screenshots}} and tried to use that for attribution; however, the template is not very sophisticated and doesn't allow actual inclusion of individual licensing templates (I would have liked to use the full {{PD-scan|PD-old-auto-1923|deathyear=1925}} from File:Illustration Bryonia alba0.jpg, but the template only allows for simple text in the "license" parameter). I also added {{Wikimedia-screenshot}} as well as {{self|cc-by-sa-4.0}} for the part containing my photograph of a mobile phone resp. my derivative work as a whole (I would have no problem with licensing my contribution to this "work" as PD, as there is very little creativity on my side involved, but I think this could lead to confusion). Well, what do you think of the result? Sufficient? Suggestions for improvements are welcome. Gestumblindi (talk) 22:39, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

All those photos are Commons:De Minimis - they are small and unimportant as any photos can used instead of them. So, I think that you do not need attribute specifically all photos. Ruslik (talk) 20:29, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, I'm not quite sure - after all, part of the point of the comparison (in German Wikipedia's Kurier) is to show which exact photos were used (the manually selected pumpkin photo in the desktop version vs. the automatically selected first image from the article in the app version), so they're actually not replaceable for the purpose of this image. They're quite important. Therefore, I think it's better to attribute the photos. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:55, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
If you look at an example shown in Commons:De Minimis (a photo of an airliner cabin with some images on screens), you will find that your situations is practically the same. Ruslik (talk) 19:55, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
No, those d minimis photos were not the intended focus, and not included intentionally and had no way to be excleuded from the photos. In screeshots (and simialar photos), de minimis does not applly. De minimis is not a messurment of percentage of the overall image, but weiter o not they were intentionally included or not, and if the photo would be the same without them. --Jonatan Svensson Glad (talk) 20:14, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
That's how I see it, yes. The photo of the airliner cabin wouldn't be substantially different with other (or no) images on the screens, they're not what the photo "is about", so the screen images are de minimis. In my Wikipedia screenshot, however, the images are part of what the screenshot "is about" (they're part of the very reason I took the screenshot), so they can't be de minimis. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:16, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
This does not make any sense. The photo in the screenshot is random and replaceable with any other image. And what this photo shows is irrelevant. Ruslik (talk) 17:38, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
No, it isn't (in this case). As soon as you specifically want to show a particular part of an image (with a photo or a screenshot), that part can no longer be de minimis. The pumpkin photo in the screnshot is relevant in a discussion about differences of the main page layout in desktop view (with the manually chosen photo for the featured article) and in app view (with the automatically chosen first image from the article). So, the photo isn't "random and replaceable with any other image" at all for this purpose of discussion. Gestumblindi (talk) 23:02, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


Can someone cast their eyes over: File:Jcgonzalez15.jpg , probably taken from]. File:JC Gonzalez-Child-Houston.jpg Taken 1999 and File:JC Gonzalez-Singing-Houston Texan-Latina.jpg taken 9 August 2015. Looks like the up-loader has a one purpose account for images of this celebrate. Thinking on the lines of a temporary block. P.g.champion (talk) 16:23, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

The uploader Siddfatima claimed to be a voice teacher / coach of JC Gonzalez per this edit.   — Jeff G. ツ 17:14, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
And who needs a voice coach for 18 years and who gets their English WP article for JC Gonalez deleted for promotion? P.g.champion (talk) 19:40, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Review requested - company logos[edit]

These are tagged with {{Trademarked}} and either {{PD-textlogo}} or {{PD-logo}}. Can I get additional opinions from anyone here about which of these, if any, pass Commons:Threshold of originality and are likely to be copyrighted art? Thanks.

Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:18, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Twitterbird Twitter bird logo copyright review[edit]

twitterbird icon
eligible for copyright?

Here we have an upload of the Twitterbird. Does this image pass Commons:Threshold of originality, making it copyrighted art? Alternatively, does it meet {{PD-shape}} or {{PD-logo}}, making it public domain and eligible for upload into Wikimedia Commons along with the {{Trademark}} template?

I know that this bird has been deleted 100+ times, and maybe 1000+ times. Just the same, I would like to question its copyright status and how the Wikimedia Commons community determined it.

Previous discussions[edit]

Guidance from Twitter[edit]

Twitter publishes usage guidelines for their trademarks on their website. They also present a text work which they call the "terms of use". I looked this over. In this text, I see some trademark guidelines but no mention of the copyright of the logo. There is a mention that Twitter has copyrighted works in the ToS, but that could be anything. In various Wikimedia Commons copyright discussions many people link to this trademark guidance from Twitter, but so far as I can tell, no one has pointed to anything in this text about copyright. Anyone could write them at trademarks‎-at-twitter‎.com for clarity. To date I am not aware that anyone has.

Summary of previous deletion rationales[edit]

  • Some users claim that the twitterbird image is beyond the the Commons:Threshold of originality and is therefore eligible for copyright. Wikimedia Commons cannot host this image until and unless Twitter grants a free copyright license.
  • Some users claim that the twitterbird image is not beyond the Commons:Threshold of originality and is therefore ineligible for copyright. Wikimedia Commons can host this image without permission from Twitter or anyone else because it is in the public domain.
  • Some users claim that Twitter's trademark guidelines prohibit misuse as a trademark. They go on to argue that Wikimedia Commons requires trademark release so we have to delete this. This is flatly incorrect - Wikimedia Commons judges copyright and not trademark. Commons will host content which is copyright compliant, regardless of trademark status.


The Apple logo is of similar complexity to the Twitter bird. The US Copyright Office has said that the Apple logo is too simple to qualify for copyright protection.
  • Keep, public domain, ineligible for copyright The bird is a simple geometric shape which conforms to {{PD-shape}}. The twitterbird is measured and designed like any logo would be, but copyright in the United States is a system for protecting creative works beyond a threshhold of originality and does not protect en:sweat of the brow for arrangements of simple geometric shapes. In 2016 the United States Copyright Office denied a copyright registration by Apple which sought to assert copyright over a variant of their "Apple" logo. In fact, the Apple "Apple" is too simple to qualify for copyright, and the Twitter bird is no more complicated than the apple is. Both Apple and Twitter made their logo by measuring shapes in about the same number of steps and I have the opinion that a copyright office ruling for the one is sufficient evidence to justify a Commons upload for the other, until and unless someone raises a justification to distinguish them as art.
Like all the online communication platforms, Twitter itself encourages anyone and everyone to republish and reuse their logo, and in all of their published guidance, they make no assertion of copyright for the twitterbird. It does not make sense to me that Twitter could simultaneously assert and defend copyright claims on this bird, while also aggressively encouraging the distribution and dissemination of the art on every website, while also not granting any copyright permission or license for reuse, while also making every organization in the world comfortable to republish the logo if anyone felt legally vulnerable about a copyright violation. I am unable to find proof anywhere that Twitter grants copyright permission to anyone to use this art. Twitter's active distribution of the art is not proof of public domain status but all this republishing is consistent with universal treatment of the logo being ineligible for copyright and all the users' presumption that they are not infringing copyright by using it without copyright permission or a copyright license from twitter.
I could be mistaken about any or all of this. Can anyone point to any evidence of a copyright claim from Twitter, like a US Copyright Office registration or Twitter's claim for the same? Is anyone aware of Twitter ever doing a DCMA or other takedown request for the copyright of its art? Is there some historic conversation in Wikimedia Commons which already went over this and established the copyright? Is there some reason why it is clear that the twitterbird passes threshhold of originality, or is this a matter of Wikimedia Commons amateur opinion? Commons amateurs are usually right, but just the same, I want to check in for opinions here. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:16, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • It's a good case study. My literal reading of {{PD-shape}} is that the Twitter logo and the Apple icon are more than a couple of simple geometric shapes, and a copyrightable creative work. However the Apple icon ruling does put a dent in our simplistic interpretation, so there is doubt over whether there is "significant doubt". However, this is a liminal case and there would have to be a set of good legal examples to shift the definition of PD-shape to include any silhouette style logo made of a series of non-simple geometric shapes or curves. Comparing the Apple icon to the Twitter logo, the only creative part of the Apple icon is the curves that are the top and bottom of the apple, those curves are not a regular polygon or simple cropped ellipses. However the Twitter logo is more complex, with a series cropped and intersected ellipses needed to reproduce the bird. Consequently precautionary principle leads us to stay on the side of caution and Symbol delete vote.svg Delete as the two cases are sufficiently different in nature to introduce doubt, and in the light of how recognizable the logo is, we have to consider it significant doubt. BTW, this thread is too long, and it would be a morning's hard work to read through the DRs listed as prior discussion. There's enough here to create a summary essay to inform the templates, even a very specific essay would be a good way of having one maintained place to keep the Commons cases and legal precedent together. It's not realistic to expect unpaid volunteers to keep going around this loop. -- (talk) 11:20, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol delete vote.svg Delete I think Fæ says it well. I might argue from a human perspective, the apple is a simple "geometric" shape, much like the fleur-de-lis, but however you cut it, it's easy to argue that Apple's logo is on one side of the line and Twitter's the other.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:28, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol delete vote.svg Delete IMHO the bird is over the line, I can draw the apple logo without giant problems using MS Paint ;-) or even as a pencil sketch by hand. The Twitter bird takes a lot more effort. In addition, the apple logo is a logo made of two generic shapes, an apple and a segment of a circle. Twitter has many more shapes, more difficult shapes. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 22:48, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol delete vote.svg Delete The Apple logo has a clear TOO-status since we have been given "words about it" from the USCO, the Twitter logo however is still open for interpretations, and my interpretation is that it is above that threshold. --Jonatan Svensson Glad (talk) 23:15, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol delete vote.svg Delete The apple is not an inherently simple shape, however, a basic silhouette of an apple has been used for a long time, and the corporate version really isn't all that different other than the bite. So, you could argue that it is a minor variation on a basically standard shape. If you search on Google images, you will see a lot of results of the corporate logo, but you will also see regular common icons of an apple which are of a very similar style. The specific shape is obviously its own trademark, but copyright is harder. There is also a high probability it was published without a copyright notice before 1989. While bird silhouettes are common, they vary a lot more -- a similar search shows a lot different results, and you really can't call Twitter's a small variation a bunch of existing ones -- it pretty much stands on its own as a separate work to me. Much more complex, and many more lines unique to that specific drawing. Secondly, Twitter has four copyrights on "Twitter Bird Logo 1" through "Twitter Bird Logo 4". VA0001939828 (2009), VA0001950612 (2010), VA0001939830 (2010), and VA0001950611 (2012). Per this article, the logo here dates from 2012, and they had earlier variations. I would assume this is the Twitter Bird 4 and that the Copyright Office agreed that it is above the threshold, and accepted a registration for it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:25, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

File:Premier Kristina Keneally.jpg[edit]

No EXIF data and only file uploaded by account. File is claimed to be "own work", but I'm wondering if this should be OTRS verified. I couldn't find the file being used online anywhere, but it has the look of something taken at an official public appearance of some kind, perhaps by a member of her staff or the school she visited. Moreover, file was just uploaded which is more than ten years after it was supposed to have been taken. Note that there's a similar type of photo to this taken at a different school event held earlier the same year as can be seem here. Anyway, just wondering if assuming good faith is good enough for something such as this. -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:15, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Hrm. It is also now the profile picture on the candidate's Facebook page (KristinaKeneallyLabor). This is a wider crop however, so the Facebook page is not the source (and given the size and upload date, they could have taken it from Commons, though that seems rather unlikely). Couldn't find it anywhere else on the net. Seems pretty likely it has been uploaded by her campaign. Not sure there are grounds for requiring OTRS. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:24, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

File:Tan Sri Sahol Hamid.jpg[edit]

This file has EXIF data, but there's no indication given regarding the author of the article. Tried checking the source url , but it's dead and the only archived version I could find also says "Account suspended". The subject seems to be Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, a former vice-chancellor of en:Universiti Teknologi MARA people#Engineering and given the pose and the background it appears to have been taken to be an official photo of some kind. Can Commons accept this as is or does it need OTRS verification? -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:34, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Image definitely existed on the source website (see here), but we would need either an indication of CC0 at the source passing license review, or COM:OTRS verification. I don't see any indication of a free license at the archived link above, though not all pages there got archived. But, it seems unlikely there was such a license there, given the copyright boilerplate at the bottom and the lack of anything else on the "Press Images" page linked above. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:53, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
This blog posting has an image that is probably from the same studio session. This is assigned the 'CC BY 2.5 MY' license, but we should not automatically accept licenses in blog postings. In a brief search I have found no images on the university's current website with free licenses, so there is reasonable doubt about the CC0 licence. Verbcatcher (talk) 15:13, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg, Verbcatcher: Thanks to both of you for taking a closer look at this. Do either of you think further discussion at COM:DRV is needed or would it be more appropriate to simply tag the file with {{npd}}? -- Marchjuly (talk) 21:30, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
The tag would be appropriate, or DR if you prefer. I tend to prefer DRs for files in use since that provides a better record of why it was deleted, but it certainly qualifies for speedy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:03, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the resply Carl. I've nominated the file for deletion at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Tan Sri Sahol Hamid.jpg. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:38, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I can purchase the license for an image and would like to upload it[edit]

Hello. I am in contact with the license holder of an Image and could purchase the rights to publish it on wikipedia. How do I prove to wikimedia commons that I am allowed to do this? And is this even possible? The Image was previously published in various newspapers and online. Thank you very much! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Softbonk (talk • contribs) 12:47, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm not an expert on this type of thing, but I would personally be quite careful about something such as this. It could be a scam with the other person just claiming to be the copyright holder when they really are not. This is probably not as uncommon as it may seem because people, companies, and organizations sometimes claim copyright over files that they do not own the rights to at all.(See Commons:License laundering for some examples of this)
Anyway, Commons' licensing policy basically requires that any file uploaped to it be licensed in such a way that allows the file to be downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world to use in any manner (including commercially) they want, so you cannot try and limit the file's use to Wikipedia only. So, even if the person offering to sell you the rights is the original copyright holder (and that's a big if), uploading the file to Commons would basically mean giving away the image for free to anyone who wants it to use in anyway they want without needing your permission to do so. I'm pretty sure you would still retain the copyright on the image, but you would lose a fair amount of control over how it can be used and who can use it, which in turn may affect the value of the copyright to you. If, however, you are serious about doing something such as this, you probably should take a look at en:Copyright transfer agreement and Commons:Transfer of copyright for some general information and also COM:OTRS#Licensing images: when do I contact OTRS? because you would likely be asked to provided proof of your ownership of the image's rights to OTRS. -- Marchjuly (talk) 13:22, 14 November 2017 (UTC)


Special:Contributions/Conydodo上傳的諸多圖片皆標示來源出自名人的Facebook和Twitter,或來自某新聞網站,應該全部都有版權上的疑慮,請審視,謝謝。 This person took a lot of pictures from Facebook and Twitter, most of them without authorization, please handle, thank you. Kerolf666 (talk) 11:00, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

A {{No permission}} tag is added to these photos. — D Y O L F 77[Talk] 11:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Images From Flickr[edit]

What images from Flickr can be added to Wikipedia. As I understand, Non-commercial no-derivatives copyright restrictions don't suffice. Despite it being released under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. To replace the file, would this image be appropriate Bob Collymore ICT authority The image was shared by ICT authority Kenya which is a governmental body in Kenya. It's licensed under Creative Commons by 2.0. The image marked for deletion due to the Non-commercial no-derivatives copyright is Bob Collymore Deletion — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thelost byte (talk • contribs) 07:48, 16 November 2017 (UTC) Thelost byte (talk) 07:48, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

The Flickr license for "Bob Collymore ICT authority" appears to be {{cc-by-2.0}} which is acceptable for Commons per COM:CC#by (Attribution), so it should be OK to upload as long as you are sure that the Flickr account holder and the person who holds the copyright on the photo are one and the same. Some Flickr users upload images whose copyright is actually held by someone else, so you need to be careful of Flickr washing. I've seen some instances where a Commons bot verifies a Flickr license as being OK, only for the file to be deleted per COM:DR because of Fickr washing. So, this is one thing you need to be aware of when it comes to Flickr. The Flickr account is under the name ICT Authority, but typically it is the person who actually takes the photo who holds the copyright on it. So, I'm not sure if that makes a difference when it comes to this particular photo. It might be sufficient to assume that someone working for ICT Authority took the photo, but further verification might also be needed per COM:OTRS. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:35, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

File:Social Media Phone.jpg[edit]

Is File:Social Media Phone.jpg acceptable as de minimis? Or can we host it at all? (note that the Facebook logo is too simple for copyright). -Animalparty (talk) 23:59, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

No, both the Instagram and the Twitter logo are above the threshold of originality (TOO) in the US and are not de minimis as showing these social media apps (including Facebook, which, as you mentioned, is below TOO) are the central focus of the photo and primary purpose of this file (as can be readily determined from the file name and description "Social Media"). I've nominated the file for deletion. —RP88 (talk) 00:13, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

File:Top 10 designer dresses at Miss World 2015.jpg[edit]

This image (with the Beauty Crown LVKA water mark in bottom right) looks as suspect as all the other images that User:Sarangsarangsarang11 has uploaded this month: File:Duuchin Otgonjargal.jpg, File:Miss Tourism Queen International 2016 winner.jpg & File:Otgonjargal Davaasuren.jpg . With Beauty Crown LVKA being such a prolific publisher of Miss World images I can't find a match of previously published images there are just too many to search through. Any ideas, as this uploader's history of copyvios suggests a permanent ban this time around. For the curious... Sarangsarangsarang appears to be the English pronunciation of 사랑사랑사랑 ( Love, Love, Love) and a popular pseudonym, so we must be careful not to get him confused with anyone else. P.g.champion (talk) 14:49, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

✓ Done Yes, certainly not OK. User blocked: no useful edit, only copyvios. Files deleted. Yann (talk) 14:58, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Flickr PD photograph[edit]

I transferred File:Keaton Jennings batting for Durham CCC.jpg with flickr2commons as it was the only free image I could find anywhere to crop and help with this request: [1] at the en Graphics lab. I assumed it would be ok, since it appears to me to be the work of the Flickr user, and was marked PD. However, the review bot doesn't like that, and I'm not sure how to proceed.
Can an appropriate tag be applied, and if so, what (perhaps {{pd-author}} because on his Flickr user page he says "I love taking photos of varied subjects with my Nikon D3200m" which matches the EXIF, and he has tagged the image PD)? I have asked the Flickr user via Flickr mail if he would be prepared to add a CC license, but don't know when or if he will respond, so I'm looking for guidance on the assumption he may not respond. -- Begoon 23:10, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

The text you are seeing in the license section is from {{Flickr-public domain mark}}, the result of past discussions on Commons regarding how deal to deal with images at Flickr that are identified with the Creative Commons "Public Domain Mark". Unlike CC0 or the other Creative Commons licenses, the Public Domain Mark is not a legal instrument; there is no accompanying legal code or agreement, and in of itself is not sufficient to release a modern work into the public domain (and in some jurisdictions this isn't actually possible). CC says of the PDM "It should only be used to label a work that is already free of known copyright restrictions around the world, typically very old works. It should not be used to attempt to change a work’s current status under copyright law, or affect any person’s rights in a work." In the situation where a Flickr user has erroneously indicated via Public Domain Mark that the copyright to their own modern work has expired, I've seen good success with asking them (either via mail or comment) to relicense the image with CC0 or some other CC license. It may help to point them to Flickr's "Manage your photos' licenses" page that explains how to change the license on a photo. —RP88 (talk) 23:34, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Ok, well as I mentioned, I've already asked them if they would be prepared to do that, so I'll wait for a response. -- Begoon 01:57, 20 November 2017 (UTC)