Commons talk:Licensing

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Commons discussion pages (index)

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to Commons:Licensing.

For discussions of specific copyright questions, please go to Commons:Village pump/Copyright. Discussions that do not relate to changes to the page Commons:Licensing may be moved, with participants notified with the template {{subst:moved to VPC|Commons talk:Licensing}}.

For old discussions, see the Archives. Recent sections with no replies for 14 days may be archived.

Archived discussions[edit]

Seven 2006/2007 discussions organized as subpages, ignoringincl. comments added in 2014:

Template protection after review[edit]

There are many country specific copyright templates on commons that need review and should be protected thereafter. Many images on commons use these templates and changing something in the template like accidentally adding a hot cat category would affect all of these and would require mass purging for all images. We should have a review department reviewing each available template and after discussion protecting it. We should discuss the layout of PD templates: Should they include why they are PD in the USA or should this be handled in another template like {{PD-Egypt}} and {{PD-Egypt-1996}}. With the URAA laws the copyright laws of a country doesn't mean that much without an explanation on why they are PD in USA. Something like {{PD-China}} doesn't work for commons because it doesn't specify why it's PD USA. And should there be templates for country specific templates for each case like found in Category:Egypt-related tags? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Diaa abdelmoneim (talk • contribs) 14:06, 2009 April 23 (UTC)

நான் சொந்தமாக எடுத்து இணைக்கும் படங்கள் எந்த வகையில் Copyright violations ஆகிறது?[edit]

நான் சொந்தமாக எடுத்து இணைக்கும் படங்களை ஏன் நீங்கள் நீக்குகிறீர்கள். அவை எந்த வகையில் Copyright violations ஆகிறது. புதிதாக யாரும் கட்டுரையோ படங்களையோ இணைக்கூடாது என்று நினைக்கிறீர்களா? எங்களுக்கு வேறு வேலை வெட்டி இல்லை என்றா நினைத்துக்கொண்டு இருக்கிறீர்கள்.... நீங்கள் அனுப்பிய இந்த செய்திக்கு என்ன பொருள். எதற்க்காக last warning. உடன் பதிலை சொல்லுங்கள் திரு. ஆலன்O.

"Hello Velu66. It has come to our attention that you have uploaded several files that are copyright violations. You have done so despite requests from editors not to do so, and despite their instructions. See Commons:Licensing for the copyright policy on Wikimedia Commons. You may also find Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter useful.

This is your last warning. Continuing to upload copyright violations will result in your account being blocked. Please leave me a message if you have further questions."

Cartoon does not explain why Commons does not accept "noncommercial" licenses.[edit]

The cartoon does not explain why Commons does not accept "noncommercial" licenses. It merely argues that you should consider not releasing material under a "noncommercial" license because "by forbidding commercial applications you are forbidding your photographs from being used on inexpensive DVDs and books published by Wikipedia". It doesn't even mention Commons, and it doesn't explain why this is the case. (Possibly because it is not the case?) I suggest that the caption be revised. Hawkeye7 (talk) 00:28, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Why what is the case?--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:03, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
ASFAIK, the decision not to accept material licensed only under a non-commercial license on Commons was taken in the very early beginning of Commons and likely by our "founding fathers". Already in 2004, our policy-page COM:L mentioned that non-commercial licences are "incompatible with other Wikimedia projects"[1]. Every now and then this decision is debated, as it excludes us from a lot of high-quality content by professional photographers. On the other hand, the seemingly clear definition of "non-commercial" actually isn't that clear in court, as a number of verdicts have shown. --Túrelio (talk) 06:36, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The goal of the Wikimedia movement was from the very fist steps not to collect "high quality" content but free content (what doesn't exlude high quality indeed). Free not in the meaning of "no money" but free in the meaning of freedom. Basically the same idea as with free software (Linux etc.) in the IT world. -- 12:27, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

@Hawkeye7: I was just trying to figure out why we do not accept noncommercial licenses, came across the comic, and got really confused. I fully agree that it does not explain why we do not accept noncommercial licenses. To be honest, I still do not know why we do not accept non-commercial licenses (unless the IP above me is the reason, which seems like a really poor reason IMO), so it would be good to clarify in this page. If that is the reason, I think this page would be a good place to put it. Kees08 (talk) 01:35, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

It's as it says; because forbidding commercial applications is a big limit on what can be done with the files. There are philosophical reasons, as well; I'm sorry if you don't see philosophical reasons as valid, but they do undergird how things are made. I, and many other people, wouldn't be here if it were yet another NC licensed thing that couldn't be copied freely.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:32, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it is the "free software" type of idea. Policy does link to which may explain it better. The cartoon is not great, but it does try to explain it a little. A non-commercial restriction is actually a very serious restriction on the use of such works -- it is not limited to for-profit companies, but is more defined if anyone (including non-profits or individuals) uses it to raise money in any way. The definition makes it harder to find works we are able to host, but it also means the ranges of possible subsequent uses of the works is far, far greater. The emphasis is on that latter aspect. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:04, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I guess the disconnect for me is that if we can use the images on Wikimedia, because the license allows us to use it on Wikimedia, we should use it on Wikimedia. An explanation which seemed more logical to me is that certain Wikimedia Foundation projects which use these images do not allow for non-commercial licenses. Since they do not permit media with non-commercial licenses, and one of the goals of Wikimedia Commons (set forth by the project scope) is to be a media repository for the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Commons cannot use content with non-commercial licenses. The other portion of the project scope, "that makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to all", is in-line with the comic, but I think including half of the scope in the comic and leaving the other half out is confusing. I think it would also be beneficial to include information that non-commercial is inline with the project scope, and to link to the page. I recommend that we add a non-commercial section to the aforementioned page, and describe in more detail why Wikimedia Commons does not allow it by including information from this discussion (assuming I understood this all correctly :) ). I can help write it up, or at least try to write a draft, if there is interest. As of right now, it looks like it was tacked onto the page later, with wording such as "Media licensed under non-commercial only licenses are not accepted either." Hope I did not ramble too much, I am interested in making things more clear if possible to help out future confused individuals! Kees08 (talk) 00:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Right, the policy goes beyond what is simply legal for Wikimedia to use, as it is intended to only host "free" works. The concept of "free" includes commercial uses, so a non-commercial restriction means it is not "free". Wikipedia is "the free encyclopedia" -- the "free" in that description directly references that concept of "free", not simply free of charge -- Wikipedia content should also be free works. You can not import CC-BY-NC text as part of an article. Technically, CC-BY-NC images would be legal to use on Wikipedia itself (since they are not derivative of the article text but are separate works), but they are normally not welcome there because that would impact the ability for others to copy articles (as Wikipedia content should be usable elsewhere for commercial purposes -- that is the point). They would only use such images if the use also conformed to their fair use policy. Since basically all Wikimedia projects have the "free" concept at their core, there is not much use for NC images etc. on Wikimedia projects at all, so hosting NC works would not help any of those projects either. The WMF licensing resolution specifies that all Wikimedia projects should only host "free" content. Individual projects are allowed to have limited exceptions which may be needed for a reasonable product (such as fair use on Wikipedia), but if you look Wikimedia Commons is explicitly barred from any such exceptions. So the prohibition actually goes beyond project policy -- it is mandated by the WMF. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:54, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
The whole argument is circular: we don't accept non-commercial works because we don't; we don't consider non-commercial works to be "free" because we don't. For me, and for most people, "free" always means "no money". The reasons may well be ideological as you suggest. I welcome Kees08's suggestion. A lot of us have to deal with CC-BY-NC works on a regular basis, and I think there would be great benefit from having the reasons clearly and forthrightly explained. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:04, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
The cartoon goes a little bit into why the WMF made that decision initially. However, yes, the "free encyclopedia" means en:Free content, not free of charge. If you go to Wikipedia, and find the "free encyclopedia" slogan at the top, and click through the word "free", that is where you get. See also en: Definition of Free Cultural Works. For better or worse, that concept has been at the core of all WMF projects since the start. A non-commercial restriction very much impinges what you can do -- perhaps even making a disc or printed version of article entries, then selling them to either raise funds or even just to recoup the cost of printing, could be an issue. The "free" movement has generally decided that non-commercial restrictions are too restrictive. The general idea is that you should not *have* to worry about how you use it for works that you find here; just the attribution (and possibly the license of what you make, if a share-alike license is used). That would not be the case of a non-commercial restriction -- you are then restricted as to where and how you use your resulting work. If that works for you, great, but that does not work for the philosophy of Commons and other WMF projects. I don't like the cartoon all that much, especially as a non-commercial restriction may make a lot of sense for many authors for perfectly valid reasons -- the cartoon seems to indicate it's always a bad idea, which I would disagree with. However, this is not the site to upload those works. I'm sorry if you took "free" to mean "free of charge", but that is not the definition used, and never has been -- that was a formative decision made by the WMF (and other open content movement folks) many years ago, and it is a bedrock policy for all WMF projects, most especially Commons. It is the "free as in speech", not "free as in beer", as goes one of the more common disambiguation examples. See en:Gratis versus libre -- that goes over the differences, and the (all too common) misunderstandings of such. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:10, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Just to be clear, myself (and I believe Hawkeye7) understand you completely. However, we both came to the talk page because we were trying to figure out a full, well-defined reason that Wikimedia Commons does not accept non-commercial works. A comic, which you admit you do not like, is the main explanation that currently exists. I am offering to type up a more clear explanation, and have you folks look at it to verify its accuracy, and then we could add it as a section to this page. Does that make more sense? I just did a search for non-commercial and for noncommercial on the page, and there is not a single explanation on the page outside of the comic. Let me know, I would be happy to type up the first draft! Kees08 (talk) 06:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any point in duplicating Commons:Licensing/Justifications, but feel free to make improvements there or suggest them on its talk page. LX (talk, contribs) 08:52, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I also came seeking an explanation, not because I don't understand you, but because I have to explain it to other people. And in Australia, commercial speech is not considered free speech, so the free beer/speech example often does not help me. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:47, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I found a better essay here. I talks about an "ideology of free culture" and there is a counter-arguments section that convincingly rejects it. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:45, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Also, if anyone uses it to raise money in any way does include the WMF with those large fundraisers, right? --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 19:07, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Only if we use those images to fundraise, like if we used them in the banner. Kees08 (talk) 17:27, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I just searched for how german courts interpreted the NC module of the CC licences, and actually it’s even worse than I thought: OLG Köln (higher regional court of Cologne) decided (Az. 6 U 60/14) that "non-commercial" means "private-use only". --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 21:13, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
The court noted differences between the German-language licence and the English one, so the ruling does not apply in English speaking countries. In the United States, a court ruled that unless commercial use is prohibited, Getty can charge third parties like Commons for hosting the images. [2] Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:57, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Files by blocked accounts[edit]

Why do files by blocked accounts that were within scope and used on wikipedia get deleted as copyright violations even when there are none? 2405:4800:148C:91A0:E0EC:49C9:6ED6:9097 00:13, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Why do you ask?   — Jeff G. ツ 04:13, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, I was wondering the same thing. - Jmabel ! talk 04:51, 3 August 2017 (UTC) - clarification: I was wondering whey we systematically delete such files, not why the anonymous user asked. (I can guess all too well why the anonymous user asked.) - Jmabel ! talk 14:41, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
@Jmabel: It seems that the files directly uploaded by users who then violated our rules so egregiously as to then be blocked no longer deserve AGF. Files uploaded by their socks seem to deserve ABF.   — Jeff G. ツ 16:45, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd say it should depend on the reason for blocking, surely? If a user was blocked for uploading multiple copyright violations, then, yes, it would make sense that we assume other files they upload to also be suspicious. If the user was blocked for being rude and obnoxious to other users, but believed in our free content mission, then I wouldn't think that would be a reason to assume their content contributions would necessarily be copyright violations. --GRuban (talk) 17:01, 3 August 2017 (UTC)


Commons-emblem-issue.svg User:Hockei/license-4.0 has been listed at Commons:Deletion requests so that the community can discuss whether it should be kept or not. We would appreciate it if you could go to voice your opinion about this at its entry.

If you created this user page, please note that the fact that it has been proposed for deletion does not necessarily mean that we do not value your kind contribution. It simply means that one person believes that there is some specific problem with it.
Please remember to respond to and – if appropriate – contradict the arguments supporting deletion. Arguments which focus on the nominator will not affect the result of the nomination. Thank you!

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This is a license up for deletion, I thought you might like to know.   — Jeff G. ツ 17:57, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

How do I find out if a license tag is legitimate?[edit]

If an image has been tagged as PD, is there a way of checking whether this is correct? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:00, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

@Pbsouthwood: There should be a plausible reason for such a tag on the file description page. You can ask the person who placed the tag or the uploader, or you can start a COM:DR.   — Jeff G. ツ 13:17, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Depends on the claimed rationale for PD.
  • If claimed PD for being old, one can check whether it is really/likely as old as required by the copyright laws of the respective country of origin.
  • If claimed PD as "work by US gov" one should check at the given source whether this is really true (US gov websites also publish "not US-gov" works).
  • If claimed as "PD-self" one needs to check whether its truely own work by the uploader.
--Túrelio (talk) 13:19, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I have no wish to have the file deleted, but the license has been questioned in a featured article review on Wikipedia. The file is File:ROV working on a subsea structure.jpg and the uploader to Wikipedia has not edited for several years and appears to have vanished. This is unfortunate, as it is a really good image for my purpose. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:31, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
That is old enough to qualify for COM:GOF, when permission-by-claim was not required to have a COM:OTRS email to verify it. Comes down to if you think the original uploader was lying, really. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:47, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I have no reason to assume the original uploader was lying. Thanks, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:09, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I have tagged as grandfathered, if this is not appropriate, please advise. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:04, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Inappropriate license?[edit]

I have been told that [[File:Pavillon_rouge_avec_une_diagonale_blanche.svg]] is too simple to warrant copyright protection. Should I change the tag to CC0? (I did not create or upload the file) · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:08, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

I see this has been done at a similar file, so have followed precedent. Consider this resolved unless there is a problem. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:02, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Creative commons section[edit]

If I might make a suggestion for this page, as an editor I would find it a lot easier to digest the information about Creative Commons licensing if it were presented in a more visual, iconographic way. I find the explanation on the Upload work from Flickr tool really clear, as it requires less ploughing through text. If it could be expanded/adapted for this page, it would help editors greatly. Cnbrb (talk) 12:55, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

@Cnbrb: Agreed! As an irregularly-active editor, I don't have all the CC licenses memorized. Which licenses are (or are not) allowed should be clearly displayed here on this official policy page so I and others don't have to spend 5 minutes digging to figure out if, for example, Attribution-NoDerivs is allowable. --NoGhost (talk) 18:31, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
@NoGhost: No, Attribution-NoDerivs is NOT allowed here. All allowed licenses must explicitly allow derivatives and commercial use.   — Jeff G. ツ 01:46, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: Haha, yes I figured that out for the time-being. My point is that the next time I might want to upload something, perhaps a month or more from now, I won't remember this and will have to spend yet another 5 minutes digging through unhelpful sections to find what should be clear and well-defined policy. I can't think of any reason why an easy-to-understand graph explaining CC licenses shouldn't be included here for those editors (like me) who are less than active! --NoGhost (talk) 02:37, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
@NoGhost: Do you mean something like Commons:Copyright tags#Free Creative Commons licenses or Commons:Creative Commons copyright tags?   — Jeff G. ツ 03:04, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, something like the presentation style of Upload work from Flickr would be very helpful. Also, it should not be buried away in some obscure policy page, it should be right there on the Special:UploadWizard Upload Wizard so editors can consult it immediately instead of having to hunt for it. Cnbrb (talk) 16:47, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
So is anybody able to do this? I would offer to work on it but I don't think my copyright knowledge is strong enough to make a good job of it. I'm pasting the code below - this is specific to Flickr, so it will need to be adapted. If someone could please review it and make use of it, that would be really great for all editors. @NoGhost: @Jeff G.: Cnbrb (talk) 12:32, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Statement on image page. License OK here?
© All rights reserved Unlicensed Stop hand.svg NOT OK
Cc-by new white.svgCc-nc white.svgCc-nd white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY-NC-ND Stop hand.svg NOT OK
Cc-by new white.svgCc-nc white.svgCc-sa white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY-NC-SA Stop hand.svg NOT OK
Cc-by new white.svgCc-nc white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY-NC Stop hand.svg NOT OK
Cc-by new white.svgCc-nd white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY-ND Stop hand.svg NOT OK
Cc-by new white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY Green check.svg OK
Cc-by new white.svgCc-sa white.svg Some rights reserved CC-BY-SA Green check.svg OK
No known copyright restrictions. Public Domain Green check.svg OK
@Cnbrb, NoGhost: I reworked it as follows.   — Jeff G. ツ 14:36, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Creative Commons license icons and names Abbreviations & versions OK here?
CC-Zero-badge.svg Zero Public Domain, "No Rights Reserved" CC0 Green check.svg OK
CC-BY icon.svg Attribution CC-BY (1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Green check.svg OK
cc-by-nc icon.svg Attribution-NonCommercial CC-BY-NC (1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Stop hand.svg NOT OK
cc-by-nc-nd icon.svg Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC-BY-NC-ND (2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Stop hand.svg NOT OK
cc-by-nc-sa icon.svg Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC-BY-NC-SA (1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Stop hand.svg NOT OK
cc-by-nd icon.svg Attribution-NoDerivs CC-BY-ND (1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Stop hand.svg NOT OK
cc-by-nc-nd icon.svg Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial CC-BY-ND-NC (1.0) Stop hand.svg NOT OK
CC-BY-SA icon.svg Attribution-ShareAlike CC-BY-SA (1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0) Green check.svg OK


@Jeff G.:, that's fantastic, thank you! That was quite a bit of work, I really appreciate your contribution! If I can make a suggestion, the icons are a bit small to read - could we maybe stretch to 100x35px? cc-by-nc-nd icon.svg Cnbrb (talk) 15:23, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@Cnbrb: sure, 35px high rows it is, I copied from the previous table, which didn't have icons with much to read.   — Jeff G. ツ 15:37, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.:, great stuff, thanks again! So have we covered all the CC scenarios appropriate for this page? I think we should insert this into the main project page, in the Acceptable licenses section. The cartoons are cute, but we may have to shuffle them around to accommodate this table, as I think this is more important. Cnbrb (talk) 15:49, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@Cnbrb: Exactly how would you change the structure of the project page to accommodate this table? I envision a "Creative Commons licenses" section near the bottom, linked from the "Well-known licenses" subsection.   — Jeff G. ツ 16:06, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: I reckon this is really essential information and should be near the top in the first section where the reader can at once refer to it when trying to find out if an image is allowed or not. I think this is the key goal for reading this page. Maybe it would sit naturally in the Well-known licenses section? When I mention layout, I was really concerned about a table sitting next to right-aligned images and crashing into them! Cnbrb (talk) 16:28, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Hi again @Jeff G.:, I have inserted your recommended table into the main page. Feel free to revert if it's not quite right yet. Thanks Face-smile.svg Cnbrb (talk) 13:09, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Just a thought. Would you not consider it a better layout to move "by-sa" up to position #3 so all the acceptable and non-acceptable licenses are grouped together? Otherwise it looks great. Ww2censor (talk) 13:46, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Sure, seems like a good idea. I'll make the adjustment. Cnbrb (talk) 14:56, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for your help & collaboration on this everyone. I think it makes the page easier to refer to when the prose is supported by simple, tabular information and a few relevant CC symbols to assist rapid identification of licenses. There are other license symbols that could possibly be added, for example Heckert GNU.png the GNU, and Logo Licence Art Libre.png Art Libre... but as this isn't my area of expertise, I'll stop here. Maybe other editors will want to add to this. Cnbrb (talk) 15:15, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Appropriate Licence and data?[edit]

I uploaded a my photo Vergine e Bambino con san Giuseppe, il beato Amato e san Carlo Borromeo (Cialdieri), made by myself to a painting of the XXVII century. Have I chosen the right licence declaration? Which date do I have to choose? The moment I've taken the photo (last Saturday), or when the painting has been concluded (1621 c.a.)? Who is the ower? Myself (the author of the photo) or the painter (Girolamo Cialdieri, the author of the painting)? --Skyfall (talk) 13:58, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

@Skyfall: Hi,
What is important here is the painting. So the author is the painter, and the date should be when it was painted. I fixed the license for you. Additionally, you can mention that you are the photographer. Regards, Yann (talk) 14:43, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you! --Skyfall (talk) 15:16, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO[edit]

Is ist possible to upload pictures licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO? --Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 10:40, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Yes; the template is called {{cc-by-sa-3.0-igo}}. LX (talk, contribs) 11:22, 10 September 2017 (UTC)