Commons talk:Photographs of identifiable people/Archive 2

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Add new countries here

Commons:Country specific consent requirements/table

I have emailed my embassy in Tel Aviv because of concerns over this image: Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Woman outside Sepulchre-2.jpg. I also asked them if our foreign affairs dept. has a list that may be more complete. This section could be edited by them or us to add more countries; unless we want them to attempt editing the table. I know that would scare me.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:09, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

The Canadian embassy emailed me back and recommended that I email the Israeli embassy in Canada. That is the next step. I may just email our foriegn affairs dept. and see if they have a list of countries as well.--Canoe1967 (talk) 17:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)


I was referred to the Protection of Privacy Law, 5741 – 1981. "Chapter One, 2. Infringement of privacy is any of the following:(3) photographing a person while he is in the private domain;(6) using a person’s name, appellation, picture or voice for profit;" I don't know how to add this to the table. Column 1 would be a yes, and 2 and 3 would be with permission? Should I upload the .pdf if documents are public domain? There is a Hebrew version online as well. Just google Protection of Privacy Law 5741 1981. Both versions are on sites.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

  • (note) I have since uploaded the English and Hebrew .pdfs.

Hebrew and English--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:19, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

✓ Done


I found a wiki that has links to laws in many countries. I think they are official links.


It appears that Mexico requires consent for publishing of photographs of identifiable people. This is the link I found. The other entries appear to be similar to that presented here, except for Mexico which doesn't find a mention here. cheers. —SpacemanSpiff 07:56, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Do you know how to edit the table? Add Israel above if you wish.--Canoe1967 (talk) 12:50, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Commons:Country specific consent requirements/table Finally found it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 12:58, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

✓ Done--Canoe1967 (talk) 13:15, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
It isn't the technical bit of adding it to the table that I was uncomfortable with but whether the source itself was right (and my interpretation of it). I was hoping someone familiar with these issues would take a look instead of me, so I'm glad you've done it. cheers. —SpacemanSpiff 13:41, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the table page linked above it has text below for each country. I made new sections and just put our links there.--Canoe1967 (talk) 14:23, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

proposing extending beyond photos to likenesses, nonphoto images, video, and inaccuracies

I propose to edit this guideline to extend its applicability to visual images of identifiable persons and to likenesses of identifiable persons. Most text would not change. However, an accurate drawing of a person can be just as illegal as a photograph of that person, depending on jurisdiction; a drawing may be made directly from a subject or from a photograph of a subject; and likenesses which can present legal problems include voice recordings and autographs. Fanciful and imaginary drawings and likenesses, apart from whether they would be original research, may also present legal problems akin to those of photographs. Inaccurate photographs may also present legal problems if viewers believe they are accurate; and, inherently, every photograph is inaccurate to a degree, some more so, and it is not always possible to tell whether an image is a photo or not.

I'm not a lawyer.

The proposed addition is approximate and would be the first section after the lead. It follows:

==Nonphotographs, video, and inaccuracies==

This guideline also applies to images other than photographs and to other likenesses, such as voice recordings and autographs, to moving images, and to images of doubtful accuracy. Exceptions, if any, are noted.

I'll wait a week for any comment. Thank you. Nick Levinson (talk) 19:40, 15 September 2012 (UTC) (Corrected formatting by adding a line break: 19:49, 15 September 2012 (UTC))

Other issues aside, how do you establish whether a drawing or caricature involved a violation of provacy? Dankarl (talk) 20:52, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
If a photo violates privacy, an otherwise-identical derivative drawing of the photo violates privacy. As it is possible to make a drawing look like a photograph, the test could be what a jury believes it is viewing. Where I'm less clear is with nonderivative drawings and realistic-but-inaccurate drawings, which, as I noted, would be subject to law that likely varies by jurisdiction. Unrealistically inaccurate drawings probably would not violate privacy regardless of content because people would not be misled about their realism, and caricatures would likely be in that vein. It could be a question for a jury. I'm being legally cautious and we should be, too. Nick Levinson (talk) 21:02, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see at all that a drawing would regularly violate privacy. Can you provide a law or court case on the matter? Perhaps an identical drawing of a photo would violate privacy. But in general, I don't think there's any legal prohibition on drawing Bill Gates at his dinner table, even if he would have legal protection for a photograph taken there.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:40, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
If it's a near-identical drawing of a privacy-infringing photo, you may have a point, although even in that case the drawing is not nearly as problematic as a photo (it's not nearly as good enough as proof). But that would not extend to any other kind drawing and I don't see why we need to modify policy in that regard. If the drawing removes the elements of the photo which make it a privacy violation, no problem. 99.99% of the time, it's going to be photos/videos, and possibly audio recordings, that are privacy issues -- could mention videos and sound recordings, sure. It really helps to point to court case decisions on relevant matters to back up your changes. Fanciful drawings do not pose any issues at all, unless they are defamatory -- and that would be nearly impossible, as those would usually be taken as one person's opinion (and free speech), and not a statement of fact. Are there any court cases which back up your contention that fanciful drawings are an issue? Also, original research is not a Commons policy, at least in that way. Quite the opposite. See COM:NOR. We don't want to be a platform for artists trying to promote themselves, but that is a separate area of scope. The main question is whether the drawing can reasonably be used in an educational context, which many drawings can. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:08, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Photographs are not central to the New York right of publicity. What matters is a "picture" or a "portrait", thus a drawing is included, as is a mannequin. A picture or portrait even without a face can cause a violation; so can a picture of poor quality with small faces; so can a picture that was somewhat edited; so can a picture of a person who looks like a famous person if used confusingly; and so can a picture in a Wikipedia article if the article is written as an advertisement by a representative of a company the article is about, although that's against two policies/guidelines. A research article qualified because of publication by someone else to promote a product without permission, and it qualified as a right of publicity issue, quite apart from copyright. A fictional biography of a famous person can violate. Sources from judicial opinions, per annotations in a secondary source, for this are on this talk page (until archived), at the topic/section #propose clarifying identifiability (to be posted shortly, probably within the hour).
This makes it likely that a caricature can fall afoul of the right of publicity. A caricature of a famous movie actor infamous for his religion, if used to advertise, say, competing movies or competing religious products without his consent could be violative even though it's a caricature. Indeed, the principle is that a caricature of a little-known person who gave consent but which looks like the famous person who did not consent and where the intended audience would have been fooled into thinking the latter was advertsing products could be violative.
It seems even possible that a house can be included, if the house is recognized as a certain person's home, in which case pictures of distinct houses hosted at Commons even without people being visible may give rise to violations just as people pictures can. The references I saw to houses as implicating the right were vague. If you need that investigated, feel free to let me know.
Wikimedia's prohibition on original research need not apply if, for example, a fanciful (obviously inaccurate) drawing is of significant importance on its own worthy of being reported and is itself sourced, and then the image of the drawing is misused for advertising or trade use. No original research need have happened in the creation of such Wikimedia content.
Nick Levinson (talk) 14:18, 18 September 2012 (UTC) (Corrected a misspelling (mine): 14:25, 18 September 2012 (UTC))
Which is only tangentially related to this guideline. None of what you mentioned is particularly important to the Wikimedia Foundation, because it doesn't commercially use anything here. Moreover, it goes beyond what labeling will handle. A trivia question was ruled to imply the sponsorship of an athlete and thus violate his publicity rights. Ultimately, I don't see that we can or should worry about this. People should know the laws that affect them and take responsibility for following them themselves. The laws that affect advertising are complex and not directly related to Wikimedia's providing of images or materials.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:38, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
We do not delete things on the basis of publicity rights. We may tack a {{personality rights}} tag on a work to inform re-users of that potential issue, but usage on Wikipedia will hardly ever violate those. We are primarily concerned about privacy rights, which are completely different, as if a work violates privacy, then it becomes illegal to publish and host here. The two doctrines should not be confused, and are treated in very different manners here. While both are potential issues with photos of identifiable people, only privacy would cause something to get deleted. Definitely agreed that the right of publicity can cover an awful lot more types of works than just photos, but (at most) that means we add a warning tag. Sound recordings though are one area where the right of privacy could easily crop up; that should probably be mentioned, although the topic of the page is about photographs. Also, the "original research" policy is specific to Wikipedia, not all Wikimedia projects in general. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:27, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
It is tangential, but that's why I propose extending the guideline to all likenesses, with emphasis on photos because they'd be the most frequent cause of violation, but at least mentioning applicability to other likenesses. If we never delete or rewrite anything because of publicity rights, statistically we probably are failing in our legal responsibilities. The risk is more significant than we see, but we're probably not being caught often, and we're probably not catching editors editing on behalf of their companies for pay and who have undisclosed conflicts of interest; many editors are editing articles likely subject to conflicts of interest quasi-anonymously from IP addresses, according to a study a while back. Thus, many are likely to be writing disguised ads in Wikipedia, and that leaves the Foundation legally exposed. Text is better controlled with sourcing, verifiability, and so on, but nontext is more problematic. I provided a small slew of case precedents at the topic/section #propose clarifying identifiability; they're just a handful but significant because most cases are decided by settlement or summary judgment or, because they are not appealed, judges may not have to write opinions, and those cases are often based on existing case law. Thus, judicial precedents have much more weight than their number might suggest. I don't know what the "trivia question" sentence refers to, so I can't judge that. I agree that privacy and publicity rights are different and have been trying to straighten out other people's confusion on that; it is one reason for addressing it where editors will see it. Nick Levinson (talk) 19:28, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a misunderstanding here... when it comes to the "free" status, we generally only consider copyright law (and copyright-based restrictions). Anything else (such as trademark) is a non-copyright restriction (see Commons:Non-copyright restrictions) does not cause something to be deemed non-free, and is not a reason for deletion. Of course, Wikimedia must follow the law itself, so if Wikimedia's own use violates the law, then we need to do something about that. For privacy violations, simply publishing the photo is a problem, so we will delete those. You did come up with a number of situations in that other discussion which can speak to the issue of identifiability in *privacy* situations, and yes, the policy should give those as examples -- thank you for bringing them up. When it comes to *publicity* rights though -- a completely different concept -- those are generally only an issue in very commercial contexts (i.e. using someone's likeness to promote a product or something along those lines), sort of a personal version of a trademark, and use in Wikimedia projects virtually never is an issue, so no we are not failing our legal responsibilities. If there ever is an issue, we simply remove that one particular use -- but as long as there is a viable non-infringing use for the photo, we keep it on Commons overall. This policy is more geared towards privacy rights since that is the only thing which truly affects Commons; if by some weird twist an article on Wikipedia is deemed an advertisement, that gets fixed on Wikipedia. Privacy rights are a concern, yes, but publicity/personality rights, hardly ever, at least here. 21:23, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
No, I don't think that WMF has to worry about legal liability for others using Wikipedia for ads. A car company ran an ad saying something like "what baseball player made his 5000 home run in 1980? Joe Jenkins. Like Joe Jenkins, our sedan can go the distance..." They lost when Joe Jenkins sued. And yet we shouldn't warn on every page that use of facts from this page could violate publicity rights. Nor should the oats article have a warning pointing that claims that oats lower your cholesterol may not be used on your oat-containing food advertisements in the US. If you're trying to straighten out other's confusion, why are you trying to introduce publicity rights to this essay on personality rights?--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:39, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Publicity rights is the same thing as personality rights. Did you mean privacy rights in that last references (since that is what this essay is primarily about, excepting the "commercial use" column in the table)? Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:09, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I created an essay, Commons:Personality rights.
About the above:
  • The cases I cited on this talk page were not privacy but publicity situations.
  • Copyright issues are irrelevant. Being non-free or free is irrelevant. Being noninfringing or not is irrelevant.
  • I never proposed all of those warnings (oatmeal, etc.) and no one else did, either, so we don't disagree on that.
  • Privacy rights are already covered and I didn't propose for that.
  • We agree on publicity being the issue but violations likely occur more often than we realize. Stating a polcy or guideline would educate more editors.
  • This isn't only about ads run elsewhere using Wikimedia content. This is also about content in Wikimedia being edited into a functional ad, not called such but serving as one, and in that case a violation of a publicity right exposes the Foundation. Having a policy/guideline reduces that risk, at least probably by mitigating the damage.
Nick Levinson (talk) 17:10, 25 September 2012 (UTC) (Corrected a link & spacing: 17:17, 25 September 2012 (UTC))
A new essay, Commons:Nonphotographs, video, and inaccuracies, by me, has been added. The shortcuts to it are COM:NONPHOTO and COM:NONPHOTOS. I plan to link the guideline to the essay in about a week, but I'll wait a week for any comment. Thanks. Nick Levinson (talk) 15:36, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
I'll believe it exposes the Foundation to risk when someone from the Foundation says so. Nor do I see why having a proposal saying "if you do vandalize Wikimedia for your financial gain, bad things could come to the WMF" is going to help anything.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:34, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
At this time, it's just an essay. I didn't write the law; legislatures and others did and sources agree. The statement is not anywhere as vague as suggested ("'if you do vandalize Wikimedia for your financial gain, bad things could come to the WMF'"). Because it's more specific, it educates editors and should. It may be that existing procedures, such as against editing with a conflict of interest, reduce (not eliminate, but reduce) the Foundation's liability for damages, but those procedures don't all prevent creating an ad within Wikimedia and disguising it as noncommercial content and thereby leading to a right-of-publicity issue. Editors who seek to be cautious will likely find protective advice useful, when it's specific enough to inform. Nick Levinson (talk) 15:31, 25 October 2012 (UTC) (Corrected my template and syntax errors and misspelling and clarified: 15:40, 25 October 2012 (UTC))
The only shortcut to the new essay is COM:NONPHOTO; the other was deleted. Nick Levinson (talk) 21:14, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Linked. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:17, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

propose clarifying identifiability

I propose to edit this guideline to explain that identifiability means merely that one third party being able to identify the person is enough for identifiability; it is not necessary that many people be able to identify her or him, as with a celebrity. In one case in the U.S., a person claimed identifiability even though the picture was only from behind her and the judge permitted the case to proceed to trial on that issue, meaning that the judge considered it not impossible that her claim was true, but I don't know if the legal issue was tested at an appellate level.

I am not a lawyer.

The proposed addition is approximate and would be the first subsection in the Legal Issues section. It follows:

===Identifiability defined===

Identifiability exists even if only one person other than the subject and the creator of the image or likeness can identify the subject.

I'll wait a week for any comment. Thank you. Nick Levinson (talk) 20:02, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Please provide a verifiable citation to the case you mention.
  • Please see the discussion above regarding the need for interaction between the level of identifiability and the expected degree of privacy accorded to the subject matter.
  • I would suggest "identifiability can mean" Dankarl (talk) 20:46, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
It would take too long to find a source for that case as it was some years ago, but the more general point that as a matter of law a full face is not necessary to identify someone is probably sourceable, if we need a source for that. As I'm not writing an article but proposing a policy and most policy points are not sourced but are decided, which legal points do we need sources for in order to proceed with this? If it's not a long list, I can probably get sources for some or maybe all of them.
Privacy is not the only concern and therefore not the only test. Publicity is a separate and nonantonymous concern, albeit not one arising from most use within Wikimedia projects but only afterwards in reuse.
I didn't find the particular discussion to which you referred, although several discussions on identifiability generally seemed to wallow around a bit.
The language you propose raises a question: By implication, it says that a single third person identifying the subject may not be enough for identifiability. Someone raised a question of whether an intimate should also be excluded along with subject and creator. Is that who you meant by introducing ambiguity or was there some other category of recognizers?
I favor caution in favor of protecting people's rights. We can usually figure out other ways of educating readers about subjects, so that we need not be conflicted about privacy and publicity rights.
Nick Levinson (talk) 21:14, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Please find the case before changing policy. There's always enough time -- just don't change the policy until we can back it up with cites. That text is much too restrictive, in my opinion. In some cases, one other person being able to identify the person may be enough, but in other situations, it may not be. Your proposed addition has none of that context; it should hedge a lot more than that. Without court case cites, I oppose this change. Also, being allowed to proceed to trial is not at all the same as a final ruling -- that is just saying the question is close enough to examine in more depth. I think it is true that the face does not necessarily need to be shown, and it may also matter what kind of private facts are being revealed -- if they are the type of facts that are damaging if people close to the person find out, such an interpretation may be accurate, but if they are facts which family already know but are only damaging if recognized by the greater public, it's possible a different standard would be used. All aspects of the situation should be considered. We should be basing the policy on the law, so either court cases or balanced legal opinions should be used. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:14, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
I may have accidentally found the case, although this one is older than I would have thought, so it may not be the same, but it'll do, especially since this one is at a newer stage and from the State's highest appellate court, resolving doubts we both had. And several judicial holdings in New York State summarized in annotated statutes relied upon by attorneys are on point. All of these concern N.Y. Civil Rights Law, sections 50 and 51, which create a right of publicity in the State. I have not compared California's law, which governs Wikimedia's servers, but I'm not expert enough to be sure the laws of the 49 States besides California don't also govern in some factual situations.
  • "[A] photograph of the nude plaintiffs, mother and child, which showed their bodies full length as viewed from a position behind and to the right of them, and which did not show their faces, nonetheless revealed sufficiently identifiable likenesses to withstand defendant's motions for summary judgment." In State court: Cohen v. Herbal Concepts, Inc., 63 N.Y.2d 379, 482 N.Y.S.2d 457, 472 N.E.2d 307 (N.Y.Ct.App. (State's highest court) 1984), as annotated in New York Consolidated Laws Service: Annotated Statutes with Forms (hereinafter CLS) (LexisNexis, 2001 (ISBN 0-327-10666-2)), Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 20, 2d paragraph.
  • "[E]ven though reproduction of ... picture was of poor quality and ... faces were small", the people in the picture could assert claims, because the picture was of a World Series baseball team and thus the people were identifiable. In State court: Shamsky v. Garan, Inc., 167 Misc.2d 149, 632 N.Y.S.2d 930 (Sup. 1995), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 50, main vol., [anno. group] 12, 2d paragraph, & sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 13, 5th paragraph.
  • "[T]he question is whether the figure is recognizable, not the number of people who actually recognized it." The "picture" must be "a clear representation of the plaintiff, recognizable from the advertisement itself." The "fact that she no longer looked like she did in the picture" did not matter. She had been in a 1922 silent movie and the case was decided in 1971. The advertised product's first 4 letters matched her name. In Federal district court, ruling on State law: Negri v. Schering Corp., 333 F.Supp. 101 (S.D.N.Y. 1971), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 50, main vol., [anno. group] 12, 3d paragraph, & sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 13, last paragraph.
  • The "portrait or picture" must "at least approach ... likeness" and must be "a clear representation of a person whether by photograph, statue, imitation or word painting", thus "more than mere picture of scene suggested by a play". In Federal district court, ruling on State law: Levey v. Warner Bros. Pictures, 57 F.Supp. 40, 62 U.S.P.Q. 376 (D.C.N.Y. 1944), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 7, 5th paragraph.
  • Even though "the portrait ... is not an exact reproduction, slight changes having been made in the pose ... so as to adapt it to the purpose of the advertisement", the portrayed person still has a cause of action. In State court: Loftus v. Greenwich Lithographing Co., 192 App.Div. 251, 182 N.Y.S. 428 (App. Div. 1920), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 50, main vol., [anno. group] 13, 1st paragraph. But, the "[f]act that magazine had touched up photograph because, in the original, the subject's hair blended into the background did not give rise to cause of action for ... invasion of privacy where the magazine merely made an arbitrary delineation of the subject's coiffure which provided an inoffensive and natural appearing result." In State court: Bass v. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc., 59 App.Div.2d 684, 398 N.Y.S.2d 669 (1st Dept. 1977), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 50, main vol., [anno. group] 13, 2d paragraph.
  • When a "look-alike's face" that "seems indistinguishable" from a real celebrity's face and advertisement's "context ... clearly implies that he or she is real celebrity", the "question ... is whether audience at whom advertisement was aimed" would have been fooled or not. In Federal district court, ruling on State law: Allen v. National Video, Inc., 610 F.Supp. 612, 226 U.S.P.Q. 483 (S.D.N.Y. 1985), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 20, penultimate paragraph.
  • The "portrait or picture" need not be a photo as long as it is "recognizable as likeness". In Federal district court, ruling on State law: Ali v. Playgirl, Inc., 447 F.Supp. 723, 3 Media L.R. 2540, 206 U.S.P.Q. 1021 (S.D.N.Y. 1978) (criticized in WR Acorn Eng'g Ass'n v. Ehrlich-Rominger Architecture 2000 U.S.Dist. Lexis 723 (D.C. Ore. 2000)), both as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 7, 6th paragraph.
  • "Publication of a fictitious biography of a public figure constitutes an unauthorized exploitation of his personality for purposes of trade". Starting and ending in State court and in Federal Supreme Court in between: Spahn v. Julian Messner, Inc., 59 App.Div.2d 684, 18 N.Y.2d 324, 274 N.Y.S.2d 877, 221 N.E.2d 543 (N.Y.Ct.App. 1966), vacated, 387 U.S. 239, 18 L.Ed.2d 744, 87 S.Ct. 1706 (U.S.Sup.Ct. 1967), on remand, 20 N.Y.2d 752, 283 N.Y.S.2d 119, 229 N.E.2d 712 (N.Y.Ct.App. 1967), on rehearing, 21 N.Y.2d 124, 286 N.Y.S.2d 832, 233 N.E.2d 840, 30 A.L.R.3d 196 (1967), appeal dismissed, 393 U.S. 1046, 21 L.Ed.2d 600, 89 S.Ct. 676 (U.S.Sup.Ct. 1969), "and remittitur amd", 20 N.Y.2d 759 (N.Y.Ct.App. 1967), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 16, 1st paragraph.
  • A magazine "article relating to clothing styles" and having a photo of an actor was not protected by the First Amendment against the actor if the article really served the purpose of an advertisement because of "covert agreement between magazine publisher and clothing manufacturer." In Federal district court, ruling on State law: Grant v. Esquire, Inc., 367 F.Supp. 876 (S.D.N.Y. 1973), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 20, 13th paragraph.
  • A "manikin" is a "portrait or picture". In State court: Young v. Greneker Studios, Inc., 175 Misc. 1027, 26 N.Y.S.2d 357 (1941), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 50, main vol., [anno. group] 9, 4th paragraph, & sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 7, 3d paragraph.
  • If an author's "research article" was published without consent and if that publishing promoted someone else's product sales, that violated the author's right of publicity. In State court: Ravich v. Kling, 17 Misc.2d 683, 187 N.Y.S.2d 272 (1959), as annotated in CLS, Civ. Rts. L., sec. 51, main vol., [anno. group] 21, only paragraph.
I went a little beyond what you requested, but all of these have interesting implications for Wikimedia's projects, if New York law applies to them or insofar as California law is essentially similar.
That First Amendment protection can be inapplicable to a magazine article because it was secretly an advertisement is a principle that could be applied to content in Wikipedia articles and not just to reuse. I understand that a study found that many articles about companies are edited from IP addresses that belong to the respective companies, meaning that thousands of editors are almost certainly not being identified as having conflicts of interest and are probably editing articles consistently with promotional or advertising principles. Imagine that company X adds to the company X article a picture of a smiling person using the company's product. That's likely a violation, albeit more by the company than by Wikimedia. Wikimedia then would be dependent on editors' diligence in keeping conflicted editors from editing and on not accepting a payment from company X, which it might be remiss on regarding IP-based editors if it has no procedure for identifying IP-related conflicts of interest.
Nick Levinson (talk) 14:45, 18 September 2012 (UTC) (Corrected for what I meant by my erroneous "newer" & clarified points: 15:31, 18 September 2012 (UTC)) (Corrected by striking out legal citation that belonged to a different case (my error) & without affecting discussion of case, for which correct citations still remain: 23:03, 22 September 2012 (UTC))
Sounds like there may be enough here for a help page Commons:Identifiability. A summary needs to go in the guideline here, but it's often easier to do a summary when there's more detail available elsewhere (and the guideline can point to that page for more details). Rd232 (talk) 16:14, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm considering it and have started a draft, maybe as an essay, so that others with legal skill can tighten it up. The guideline itself, though, should not just summarize but should state what editors should do, and that should be cautious and steer clear of a person's rights, not try to go right up to the dividing line between lawful and unlawful. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:50, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I created Commons:Personality rights as an essay and will probably create a redirect from Commons:Identifiability to the essay on another day. Nick Levinson (talk) 17:01, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Redirected. Nick Levinson (talk) 21:21, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Personality rights and applicable jurisdiction

{{Personality rights}} might give the impression that only the local laws of the reuser are to be considered. This is important for the reuser, but does not protect the subjects of the photo against reuse in countries where (some) personality rights do not apply. I would like it stated very clearly that also local laws where the image was taken should be respected.

I, as a photographer, cannot use my copyright to add any restrictions on the use of a photo, because that would make the photo unfree. On the other hand, under Finnish law, I might be prosecuted for offering photos of identifiable people for commercial use without their consent (if photos are used where there are no such restrictions in local law).

The local law where the photos are taken should be applicable, as it effects reasonable expectations of subjects and possible defamation will have effects in the country of origin. The fact that a reuser might not risk being prosecuted is not the same as the the act not being an offence.

The warning is of course not binding, but I think making the reuser aware of the broader meaning of "applicable laws" might be important to the subjects of the photo, the photographer and the uploader and do no harm.

--LPfi (talk) 10:56, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

  • I think there's a much more general problem: there's a table of country-specific consent requirements, but no explanation as to how they affect the general policy stated above. Suppose a country requires consent to publish images of people in public places. Does any picture featuring people taken in such a country require the {{consent}}-tag? Or does every picture uploaded from such a country require that tag? As stated, the policy could even be read to suggest that any picture that would be pulished to such a country would require tagging (although that would be dumb.)
A more consistent policy statement might be, for example: "Wikimedia Commons policy requires consent documentation for images taken in, or uploaded to Commons from, countries which require such consent for photography, or for (commercial/non-commercial) publication." 04:54, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
  • It is very much source-country dependent I would think. I have had similar "reservations" regarding, the photos I have taken of identifiable people - even in public - in Denmark. In July 2011 I created a "personal" template, to cover this predicament. Through a number of updates and changes it was yesterday "formalized" a bit more, by being put it into {{Denmark no consent}}. Something similar might be useful for the case of Finland, since Finland and Denmark, have somewhat similar legislations regarding photography of individuals in public space. In kind regards, heb [T C E] 10:42, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Dead people?

Currently, this guideline doesn't distinguish at all between living and dead people. This differs from the WMF board resolution, and from the guideline's checklist summary, both of which restrict themselves to living people. These inconsistencies have already led to some confusion.

The guideline does start off saying that it is about "taking pictures" of identifiable people, which would suggest it's mainly about living people, although it later goes on to discuss uploading photographs in general. This includes photos from external sources, which often hold many historical images of people who are now dead. Including dead people in the guideline's scope seems to exceed what the WMF has called for, and will probably overcomplicate the parts dealing with subject consent.

I suggest we revise the guideline to say that it applies to pictures of identifiable living people almost throughout. A brief mention of the recently dead in the moral issues section could be useful, though. The parts dealing with the international legal situation should also cover pictures of people who are no longer living, where this reflects local law. --Avenue (talk) 14:43, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. I'm considering actually whether a radically shorter version of COM:PEOPLE might not be better (much clearer in policy terms), with as much as possible moved to a subsidiary "how to" page. Rd232 (talk) 12:48, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Certainly the guideline needs something "radical" done with it. It doesn't even define what "identifiable" means (see discussion above from over a year ago) -- it isn't just a black and white issue. I don't think moral/ethical issues are handled at all well by the Commons community, which essentially defaults to an "unless it is illegal, don't restrict me" approach. My feeling is there are some areas where WMF should pay an expert or consultancy to draft the rules here and just impose them on the community. After all, it is their site, not ours. Colin (talk) 13:52, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply that the guideline is fine apart from the living/dead people issue. I agree the guideline needs to be a lot clearer. Identifiability, consent, which countries' laws should apply - these are all thorny issues. I picked on the living/dead issue to start with because it seemed relatively simple (although where it interacts with the thornier issues it quickly starts to get murky). --Avenue (talk) 14:05, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
So how long after someone is dead are they "fair game"? And does that apply to all shots? Surely there are photographs for which the subject expected privacy (so did not want the photograph taken, never mind released) or where the photographer was expected to not release the photograph widely, and where there is no justification for ever posting on Commons. Sort of a "public interest" test. A voyeuristic/paparazzi shot doesn't become ethical when the subject dies. A boyfriend/girlfriend intimate photograph shouldn't be exposed to all when one of them dies. The only thing that happens when someone dies is their legal rights change and their ability to give consent disappears. Surely the ethical issues remain? Colin (talk) 15:14, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
If you ask different people those questions, I'm sure you'll get different specific answers, and likewise various legal jurisdictions will have different rules. For instance, the law in Florida requiring subject consent (section 540.08) says that this is no longer necessary 40 years after the subject died (see clause 5). (Note that under their regime, the subject's spouse or any of their surviving children can give consent after the subject dies.) There is nothing sacred about that figure of 40 years; it is just the answer Florida's legislators settled on as providing the best practical solution to these issues in their jurisdiction.
The WMF board resolution gives us a clear mandate to strengthen and enforce this guideline as it applies to media portraying living people. While pictures of dead people aren't unimportant, I think we should put the issues surrounding them to one side until we have successfully addressed the more pressing problems regarding living people. In the meantime, perhaps we should include a general proviso stating that despite the guideline not explicitly covering pictures of people who are no longer living, similar issues may apply to them. --Avenue (talk) 00:21, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the logic of the policy is to use what the local legal requirement is. Elsewhere (I forget where) I've seen 15 years after death. Obviously this is an area we need to work on getting more info, and maybe establish a backstop "if in doubt, assume X years after death". Rd232 (talk) 10:07, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
The guideline actually states (in the Legality section) that images are unacceptable if they are arguably illegal where they were taken, uploaded from, or in the USA (because that is where the Commons servers are). I think that goes some way beyond our practice for copyright issues, in which we don't usually worry about the law where the uploader sits.
The USA bit also seems problematic because I gather there is no federal law on such issues, and the rules in each state are therefore different. The US servers are in Florida, so "40 years after death" might be a logical default. But we also have servers in the Netherlands (including I think one media backup server),[1] and we don't usually worry about the law there. I've also seen people say that the location of the WMF's headquarters (now California) is what really matters, and the recent WikiTravel litigation was filed in California. At least for celebrities, some personality rights persist until 70 years after death in California (see California Celebrities Rights Act). --Avenue (talk) 12:11, 5 December 2012 (UTC)


I've started a redraft at Commons:Photographs of identifiable people/2013. So far I've left out the "guidance" section, and it's possible it might be better left out (put in a subsidiary guidance page instead, rather than in the main policy). Comments, suggestions? Rd232 (talk) 18:35, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Per the discussion at Commons:Requests for comment/images of identifiable people, could we add a sentence recommending (but not requiring) the use of the {{consent}} template to indicate the consent status of photos of identifiable people? Kaldari (talk) 03:59, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
It's mentioned under point 3 "evidence" of the "subject consent" section. Do you want to make it more prominent, or change the wording? Feel free to suggest or tweak. Rd232 (talk) 15:07, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Partygoer examples are confusing and misleading

We current state that it's OK to post photographs of "partygoers at a large private party where photography is expected", but it is not OK to post photographs of "partygoers at a private party where photography is not permitted or is not expected". How can someone possibly determine whether or not photography is "expected" at a private party? Regardless of whether it is expected or not, a private party is an event in a private place. We should be requesting consent for such images, not assuming that everyone who goes to a party is OK with giving up their privacy.

I would like to suggest either removing both of these examples or replacing them with a single example stating that it is not OK to post photographs of partygoers at private parties without consent, otherwise these examples undermine the entire guideline. Kaldari (talk) 05:41, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

I think it would be better to replace the first with another example that makes the same essential point more clearly (that public situations can occur in privately owned places), e.g. a press conference or a red carpet event like the Category:Time 100 Gala. It should be worded more carefully too. "Privately owned" is clearer than "private", for instance.
The second example is also unclear. I think the main idea there is that it's not okay to post photos taken where this would violate the subject's reasonable expectation of privacy, even if the situation itself is not especially private. I think an example illustrating this would still be worth including, although I can't think of a better one at the moment. --Avenue (talk) 14:20, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've tried to adjust both of the examples per your suggestions. Hope that sounds better. Kaldari (talk) 22:57, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
That's much better IMO. I've reworded one of them slightly. --Avenue (talk) 09:26, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Anonymizing the image

I've removed the pixelated obese girl and the advice on using such techniques to "anonymise" an image. The original unpixelated image is on the internet and by dragging & dropping the pixelated version onto Google Image Search it is trivial to locate it. This highlights the need to ensure privacy concerns are dealt with at upload time rather than applying a sticking plaster later. The internet never forgets. Another technique for anonymising images by the use of blank bands over the eyes, once used in dusty old medical textbooks and journals (never intended to be seen by the general public), is no longer considered acceptable by medical publishers. -- Colin (talk) 15:40, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree with that anonymising is highly problematic and has far too often been used without due consideration of the risk that identification remains possible. Another technique for anonymising images by the use of blank bands over the eyes, once used in dusty old medical textbooks and journals (never intended to be seen by the general public), is no longer considered acceptable by medical publishers. - a source for that would be very helpful. Rd232 (talk) 00:46, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
We had the black band technique used in television. Our president thought it was a bad idea and got himself showed "anonymized" in that way. I think the episode put an end to the bands over here. --LPfi (talk) 01:29, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
The "Uniform Requirements" guidelines are pretty much the standard for all medical journals, and the BMJ is a leading UK medical journal. There are plenty other examples, but they just repeat this. In my opinion, patient images with black bands across the eyes are a signal that the image is not suitable for Commons. The patient may have not given consent at all (with the doctor assuming the bands were effective) or wished some degree of privacy however feeble, and probably only consented to appearing in a medical journal. Colin (talk) 18:17, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

I've added a subsection on the problems with anonymising an image, with some examples. -- Colin (talk) 22:04, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

The examples seem misleading to me. Many viewers will be very familiar with these artworks, and some could probably identify them from a small portion of the image, maybe even of just the background. The poses are iconic, the style of a painting can be a giveaway, and so on. This is very different from the situations we would typically deal with here, of photographs of real people who are typically not portrayed in a characteristic pose or situation. Better examples might be produced by applying these treatments to the photo of Larry Sanger from the lead section, for instance. --Avenue (talk) 22:29, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
For any example to work and sink in, it needs to be someone who you would recognise if only the attempts at anonymising hadn't been done. Nobody other than the nerdiest Wikipedia geeks would recognise Sanger even without pixelation or cropping. The examples are illustrative rather than experimental proof. It is difficult to find a free image of someone that everyone would normally recognise. The issue with identification isn't that some stranger might recognise you. Who gives a damn about them. The issue is that your family, your boss, your potential employer, your school mates, or your girlfriend might recognise you. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Barceloneta Girl.jpg (NSFW) is an example where the Flickr link and Google Image Search both identify the "anonymised" subject. Anyone on holiday with that girl at Barcelona (especially if the image was more recent) would identify her quite easily despite the pixelation: the headband, sandals, location and date all make identification possible. -- Colin (talk) 23:12, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
My concern about anonymised paintings is that paintings are too different from photographs, so they don't illustrate the issue well. My thought with the Sanger pic wasn't that he was widely recognisable - it was that anyone reading through the page should remember seeing it at the top of the page a few minutes ago. But we also have plenty of photos of celebrities that most people would recognise, and that would make useful examples, e.g.
Brad Pitt with eyes obscured
--Avenue (talk) 13:50, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I can see the advantage to a photograph compared to a painting. But it is quite hard to find one that illustrates many of the issues of just hiding (part of) the face of the subject. We need readers (from all countries) to be familiar with other parts of the image (the body, clothes, surrounds) in order to be able to put themselves into the position of some who may then recognise a non-notable person they are familiar with (or are). To me, it doesn't matter if the Mona Lisa example is a bit over-obvious. Indeed the humour of such a pathetic attempt to hide the Mona Lisa helps the lesson sink in. I'm not opposed to a photograph but the problem with that Brad picture is that it is all too easy for someone to make it difficult for nearly anyone to recognise him, but then all we'd be left of is a picture of a suit. We don't tend to have problems with people taking pictures of folk wearing suits. Now if you can get a picture of Brad with his clothes off, there might be more interest :-). Colin (talk) 16:05, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind if just one of the examples was over-obvious, but when all three of them are, I feel it diminishes the credibility of the whole thing. It makes it seem like we can't find any real life examples. Sure, we can't display truly problematic images here, but I think we should try to find some realistic examples if possible. --Avenue (talk) 23:43, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I like the examples using artwork. I also don't recognize the person in Avenue's example, and wouldn't even if there were no black bands. Avenue's example (assuming the file name gives the person's correct name) assumes that everyone recognizes American actors, which I think is less plausible than assuming that people will recognize the most famous couple of paintings or statues in the history of the world. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:48, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Another redraft

New draft: User:Colin/People

I think we all agree the current guideline is inadequate. The guideline has gone largely unchanged since its creation five years ago, despite a WMF resolution that it should be strengthened and better enforced. There have been several attempts at drafting a new version (one here and another more recently here). Some problems with the existing version are:

  • The layout and structure are poor, with information scattered about and repeated.
  • The country-specific table dominates and isn't particularly useful on its own -- the sub-page with the details is necessary to make any informed decision about country-specific laws.
  • The guideline doesn't discuss in detail consent or identification, both of which have degrees and nuances and should be considered in the context of the image.

Other problems I'm seeing with recent deletion discussions are

  • A confusion between copyright licence restrictions (permission required, commercial use) and the subject's rights (permission required, commercial use), which are completely separate. I've seen admins get the two confused.
  • Amateurish attitudes towards dealing with privacy and responding to images with legal or ethical concerns. Pixelating the face of a person who is the clear subject of a photograph and who's photograph should not have been taken or published without consent is, in some ways, similar to filing off the serial number of a bike one has just stolen.

To resolve these problems, I've created yet another draft: User:Colin/People. I would appreciate your comments - put them here rather than on some other talk page. I think the problem with drafts is that they can get bogged down with discussions until deemed 100% perfect. But this is a Wiki so I'd much prefer if we got the material onto the guideline page and worked on it there. If this draft is considered an improvement, even if it has some issues, I'd like to propose we move it over to the guideline and then clearly tag any contentious sections as such. For these contentious sections, it will then be apparent to readers that the advice there is not yet stable. A lot of the existing text is still present, just better organised and presented IMO, as well as some new sections of consent and identification.

-- Colin (talk) 13:32, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

  • I made a couple of edits that I hope will be taken as friendly. I think there is also a need to clarify in the "Consent" section that in countries such as the U.S., there is no need for explicit consent for photos taken in a public place. Yes, we say that elsewhere, but it should be restated or people will think these sections contradict one another. - Jmabel ! talk 17:02, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm reluctant to repeat and summarise the complex "whether required" issue that is only covered an inch or so further up. But I agree we need to make sure it doesn't contradict or give the impression consent is always required. Does this edit help? If not, have you got a suggestion? -- Colin (talk) 22:38, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I made a few minor wording changes, but otherwise it looks good. The organization of the material is a huge improvement over the current guidelines. Thanks for working on this. Kaldari (talk) 22:25, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the edits, both of you. Colin (talk) 22:38, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I think it is very well done, and would support moving over to the guideline on the understanding that we would continue to work on contentious sections (if any). --Skeezix1000 (talk) 22:40, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I think in some respects it is quite good, but it is quite wordy and hard to scan. It reads more like essay than policy; it's important that policy can be grasped as quickly and easily as possible. Compare the formatting (headings, bullets) of my Commons:Photographs of identifiable people/2013 draft. Also Commons:Photographs_of_identifiable_people/2013#Scope is quite important. I seriously think my draft is a better starting point for structure and clarity, and that your version should be merged into mine, keeping any additions/clarifications as brief as possible and possibly tucked away in explanatory footnotes. That would mean importing especially the Identification section and the ones below it, but also some points from the sections above it. Rd232 (talk) 00:31, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

  • FWIW, I prefer Colin's. Yes, it reads like an essay, but it's a highly readable essay. I'd be more inclined to solve the issue of clarity by adding a "nutshell" summary at the front of Colin's version. - Jmabel ! talk
    • I strongly disagree that a "highly readable essay" is suitable for a policy document. For one thing, don't forget that non-native speakers will be reading the English version too - especially (but not exclusively) if there's no translation in their language(s). Generally, if things need to be said in essayish form in relation to policy (and yes, this is often helpful clarification for those willing and able to read it), they're put into a separate essayish document which is appropriately linked. Rd232 (talk) 07:45, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
      • I think the essay form is better for the purpose of this document. There are so many shades of grey that a short easily grasped policy cannot cover even the most important issues (which is clear from your draft, where policy is intermingled with all kinds of considerations). That said, we might want a short policy page, which just states what laws we follow and what moral issues we find important, and leave all the discussion to an essay-like guideline. --LPfi (talk) 08:42, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
      • Rd232, as you know, I was aware of your draft and incorporated some of your text/changes into the one I'm proposing. And some of the issues and problems with people-images you raised on at the RFC influenced this draft. I wanted to take a different approach. I didn't want a terse bullet-point guideline which might be suitable only for experienced admins such as yourself. That's fine for when everyone is up-to-speed and just needs some rough notes to remind them of the rules. But this is a complex subject and new editors need more help to get their heads round the issues. The other draft isn't complete and doesn't address many of the problems I wanted to cover or clarify in the draft I made. I don't think there is anything in your draft that isn't in mine, or addressed in other guidelines. The issue of scope is covered in a different way. IMO it is vital the guideline is readable and not a stilted set of points. The text needs to introduce ideas and develop them. Of course it is a draft and there may be room to trim some fat if folk agree some text is more wordy than needed. And I agree with Jmabel a nutshell (both at the top and perhaps for some sections) would be good. I may be able to enlist one of Wikipedia's fine writers to help copyedit and polish and tighten the prose, but I dont' think it is at all bad as it is. I suspect I won't convince you, Rd232, because you're naturally invested in your own approach. Let's see what other people think. -- Colin (talk) 08:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
        • Well obviously we are both invested in our own approaches :). Nonetheless, I strongly disagree that your essay approach is right. You think my bullety/highlighty approach assumes admin-level knowledge? Not at all, it just tries to give the key points clearly, without in any way giving false certainty. I think your essay approach assumes a willingness to engage and learn that the vast majority of readers will not have. Fine, provide it for those willing, but don't force it on everyone as part of the key policy document. And frankly, why should users have to learn legal terms like "right of publicity" when all they need to know is "if it was taken in a private place, it needs permission, if it was taken in a public place, it depends on local laws - list here - (oh and for some commercial uses there are additional considerations)"? You really cannot underestimate readers' attention span on the internet. Rd232 (talk) 13:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
        • The guideline is needed for both eduation of users planning to upload and also as somewhere that experienced folk point to when involved in, for example, a deletion discussion. It needs to be readable by those who will be affected by certain laws they've never heard of before, but also usable by folk trying to apply the rules. Your draft also covers the right of publicity, yet intermingles it with the quite separate privacy issues that are controlled by private/public place concerns -- which don't affect the right of publicity at all. I'm afraid I find the text of your draft to be extremely confusing, as evidenced by the comments at the RFC. Please, let's see what other folk think because I don't think we will persuade each other of the merits of the others's draft. -- Colin (talk) 13:38, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
          • General education about laws should be but on Wikipedia, not Commons - the page can and does link there for more info. My draft is clear on the public/private place concerns because that's the basic distinction - and one users can fairly easily grasp in principle (even if there can be unexpected legal complexities of definition). "Some commercial uses" are clearly distinguished as potentially needing specific consent; they are not "intermingled" in the page. Yet the English Wikipedia article en:Personality rights actually does mingle them - maybe you should address that before trying to write a single Commons policy page that tries to do the job of splitting that article into publicity rights and privacy rights. Rd232 (talk) 16:02, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I found Colin's version to more clearly enunciate the principles and the rationale. I didn't actually find it too wordy or essay-like. That's not to disparage Rd232's version, but of the two, I preferred Colin's. I appreciate that it may just be a personal preference, but that's my two cents. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:42, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
It appears that the discussion has wound down, and there is consensus to move the draft onto the guideline page. The more discrete issues appear to have been addressed (and in any case were not fundamental to the draft). Rd232 raised broader concerns, but no one else seems to share them and he acknowledged in his January 16 comment that the guideline could be adopted during his wikibreak. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 21:36, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I wanted to allow plenty time for folk to comment but this doesn't appear to be a guideline that gets much traffic on Commons hence the low participation here. Colin (talk) 22:38, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. You did leave lots of time, and you promoted this discussion at the Village Pump, the RfC and on people's talk pages. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:39, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I unfortunately haven't been able to put as much time into this as I would have liked (mainly because it requires a longer stretch of connected effort, than I have had the room for lately :(). Overall I much prefer the Colin's draft (in it's current version anyway) to the current guidline. I do however miss the [[Commons:Photographs of identifiable people/2013#Scope|scope part from Rd232's draft - specifically something that clearly explains i.e. living as being more than just being alive in some jurisdictions (in Denmark for instance it extends at least three weeks following the death and up til ten years pending on the circumstances, according to a technical reply (not tried at court) from the Danish Data Protection Agency) and photographs in this context having a broader meaning also covering paintings, drawings and other forms of imagery (though this is partially shown under identification). I think adding the scope-section under legal issues would be of great benefit to the draft.
Also I miss a bit more clear distinguishing between taking (or producing per the above comment on other media forms) and publishing. Though I don't readily have a clear-cut idea how to do this right now, I think something along the lines of bolding publishing the photo from the intro text and adding a remark like this guideline simply deals with the publishing of media with potential privacy issues, specifically publishing them to Commons would do it, but I think that part needs to mature slightly :)
That stated I think that both Colin and Rd232 has done a great job with their respective drafts and I applaude the time and effort they have put into it. In kind regards, Henrik/heb [T C E] 12:17, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
It was indeed a sad thing that no people joined up on the discussion, however they have had plenty of opportunity I think. I have completed the move. If nothing else it might get people out of their buckets :) Please also see new section in the bottom of this page. --heb [T C E] 13:22, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

USA and others

I think the draft (like Rd232's draft an perhaps this page) is too USA centric. It states "normally" about things where the USA standpoint is unusual (at least looking at the country specific requirements) and "some countries" for the normal legal requirements. We have to abide to Florida/California/whatever law, but there is no reason to have it as norm otherwise.

For people accustomed to local law it is of course difficult to write from a general perspective, but I hope there is consensus about trying to.

The worst issue is the one about straight forward photos in public places. I think consent is generally required for publishing such photos, where the individual is the primary subject of the photo. I hope we could find some other example for "usually not needed". For me the obvious one is where the subject is an event or a busy public place, where it is hard to avoid identifiable individuals (with a decent resolution) - or a politician giving a speech. I am not sure what example should be picked.

--LPfi (talk) 09:07, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree, but I disagree that Commons:Photographs of identifiable people/2013 is USA-centric. Read it again, maybe - I was specifically trying to be less USA-centric than the current policy. Rd232 (talk) 13:11, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I've tried to address the USA bias in this edit. I hope that helps. I agree that this guideline mustn't be written with the assumption the reader is based in the USA (or UK). Colin (talk) 19:39, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Policy section

I've undone some of this edit by LPfi that introduced at "Policy" section. I think the intention was to summarise the key points, though that is normally what the lead should be doing. My main problem with it is that this is a (proposed draft) guideline and we can't just elevate it, or bits of it, to "policy" which kind of a protected term here. Are there parts of that section that should be in the lead? Or do we think a "Key points" section is needed? Or something else? -- Colin (talk) 09:43, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Well one fairly obvious solution is to have both a policy and a guideline. The Policy would be based on my version (Commons:Photographs of identifiable people/2013) and the guideline on yours (User:Colin/People). Rd232 (talk) 13:13, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
That's not an obvious solution at all. We don't have policy and guideline covering exactly the same things. If there was a parent policy page, it would cover general legal and ethical principles that form the basis from which guidelines are developed. It would concern the rights and responsibilities of the subject, the photographer, the owner of the image, the uploader, the reusers and Commons as a host. And it should be written by the WMF, not a bunch of amateurs. Colin (talk) 13:38, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • It depends what you mean by "exactly" the same things. English Wikipedia has some examples of clarificatory essays supplementing policy; that's really what you're trying to do here. It's helpful done that way, and unhelpful, even dangerous, done the way you want to do it.
  • If there was a parent policy page, it would cover general legal and ethical principles... - no, that's fundamentally misunderstanding what a policy page is. A policy page basically tells you what to do, not why the policy is what the policy is, nor provide the general education needed to understand why it exists or contains the content it does.
  • it should be written by the WMF - an even more alarming misunderstanding of what policy is. WMF does not handle content issues except where legally required; if it did, it would risk becoming legally responsible for all the content, which is not tenable. Rd232 (talk) 15:50, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Well this is a distraction. The point is that both drafts have a huge amount of the same words in them. Except, bluntly, one of them is readable and easy to understand and the other not. That's not a starting point from which to make one policy and one guideline. Wikipedia has a clearer distinction between policy and guideline, and the guidelines are meant to follow from policy, to show how to put it into practice in certain areas, for example. On Commons, it appears the distinction is less clear, but generally the really important stuff is policy. Generally speaking, the policy and guideline pages on Commons are vastly inferior to Wikipedia, which reflects on the lower participation levels and perhaps lower ability with English too. As for the WMF bit. Well the owners of the site determine the scope (educational content) and I believe this should extend to legal and ethical standards about what they are prepared to host. They should get lawyers and ethics experts in to draft such standards. The community can then write guidelines drawn from this. The WMF have already issued a request that we improve this guideline and we've done nothing so far. Don't kid yourself that the community have ultimate say on these things. See en:Wikipedia:You don't own Wikipedia. -- Colin (talk) 16:12, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
    • I'll reiterate, since everyone else is reiterating: adding a good "in a nutshell" executive summary at the top of Colin's version should address Rd232's issue. - Jmabel ! talk 16:51, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Well, fine, if you can get your version adopted, with or without revisions in light of my comments, good luck to you. I'm resuming my wikibreak in earnest so I won't participate any further in this discussion for a while. Rd232 (talk) 18:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
That's very disappointing. I hope there are revisions and changes because they would reflect a community working together in a wiki towards improving the guideline. All the many previous attempts at fixing this guideline have failed, largely because of endless talkpage discussions by one or two folk. We need lots of eyes and lots of helpers. I think what I've proposed is such a huge improvement on what we have that it would be a big step forward to build upon. But I'm keen to see what other folk think. Colin (talk) 19:10, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I've added a nutshell. Obviously it has to be brief. I'd expect the lead to be a better summary of the key points, which in turn is expanded upon by each section in the body of the guideline. Colin (talk) 19:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I think the nutshell should give a frank summary of the gist of the page. The point is to give general guidance, to expand on the page topic, and to help readers decide whether they need to learn more about this topic. I think the following may more closely satisfy these criteria. "Never upload a photograph that may make your subject uncomfortable without his or her consent. Many countries require the consent of the subject prior to publication. Some countries do not permit any photography of people without consent." --Walter Siegmund (talk) 21:56, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I prefer Colin's stab at the nutshell. The reference to photos that "may make your subject uncomfortable" is too vague and isn't really the test. Moreover, the second sentence seems to imply that it's simply an issue of consent, depending on country, whereas the analysis is actually more complicated than that. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 13:53, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
The more one looks at it, particularly country rules, the more complex it can be. It might seem simple if one's only concern is USA photographs and publishing. While many people will agree with your "may make your subject uncomfortable" test and use that as their own guideline for photography or publishing, others take a different approach. The actual test is a different one, which doesn't always align with "uncomfortable". Actually the main aspect of the nutshell I think is the first sentence. Everything flows from there. There are other legal, moral and ethical concerns that Commons does not respect, and indeed fights strongly against (rightly or wrongly). Colin (talk) 14:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)


I think that the section about employees is not about employees, but where there are special expectations at the time the image is taken. The "employee" might as well be unpaid and without a formal relationship (other than what is established by turning up with a camera). As I understand the purpose the section is about expectations about how the images are going to be used, partly irrelevant of for whom the photographer is working. I might of course have misunderstood. --LPfi (talk) 13:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

What brought that section into being is the considerations at the Patient Images essay I orked on. Ultimately, employment rules on photography are influenced by "expectations at the time the image is taken" but they might be stricter or laxer than one's personal expectations. For medical staff in the UK, my understanding is that some NHS trusts have employment rules that state written consent is needed for all photography of patients. Furthermore, the GMC, which is the professional body for doctors, has additional guidelines on photography and other forms of imaging, stating when consent is required and how to ensure patients aren't identified. I would imagine there are employment guidelines for other professions, particlarly for vulnerable groups such as teachers - pupils, social workers - clients. While such concerns aren't necessarily grounds for deleting an image from Commons, they are something uploaders and photographers should be aware of, hence the warning. Colin (talk) 14:06, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
True. That part might be OK. But there is a "and any contract (assumed or formal) with the subject", which is as relevant for non-employees. A non-employed photographer should of course be aware of any formal contracts, but the "assumed" part is harder. It might be that "assumed contracts" are mostly relevant where the area should be thought of as being private, but I think there may be important cases yet not covered. --LPfi (talk) 09:15, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I've removed that bit. You are right that the contract (implied or otherwise) with the subject concerns all photographers. Colin (talk) 11:13, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

New version!

Per the Another redraft-discussion above, I have moved the overall accepted draft into the position of the guideline. The old guideline - with all it's contributions - can now be found at Commons:Photographs of identifiable people (old). In kind regards, Henrik/heb [T C E] 13:17, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Per my comment on your talk, I'm not sure if the move was carried out correctly. I think the guideline page should retain the history of the guideline page, not just of the draft. I wondered if it was possible to edit the original guideline page to include the new draft text with an edit summary that had a link to the draft version -- this is what Wikipedia seems to suggest but I'm confused about it. Also the above **(old) page still has category and guideline banners which it should not have if it is no longer the guideline. -- Colin (talk) 14:06, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The old guideline - including all history of contributors and editors can still be found on Commons:Photographs of identifiable people (old). To the best of my knowledge, the MediaWiki software doesn't allow merging of two pages history. Since the current (new) guideline contains the history of all who contributed to that, and the old one is preserved with all it's history, I don't think it can get much better than that :). Other than that you are right about the categories and banners on the old page. It was an oversight on my part, which has now been remedied. In kind regards heb [T C E] 14:09, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Well I'm no expert so just want to make sure the right thing is done. The new version incorporates a load of text from the old one, so the guys who wrote that deserve credit. What we have now just makes it look like the guideline is only a month old, which seems wrong. Colin (talk) 14:38, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it is possible to merge history with: delete one version, move the other, undelete all. Yann (talk) 14:51, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
There are fairly detailed instructions in English at en:WP:HISTMERGE, if that's what we want to do. I don't know if there is an equivalent page here at Commons. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:55, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
That approach works quite well, if and only if the old page has not been modified since the new one was created. Otherwise there will be confusing intermingling of versions of the two pages, with no hint in the history about what happened. If there is no overlapping history one problem remains, namely that it seems like the new page took the place of the old one from its first revision (the history does not show the then current name of the revision). --LPfi (talk) 21:34, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I'll see if I can fix it up. Gimme 5 minutes... Kaldari (talk) 20:35, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
OK, the old history has been restored and I gave people credit for the new version in the edit summary. Hope that works. Kaldari (talk) 20:45, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Works for me. Thanks everyone. Colin (talk) 08:28, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry for any confusion that I may have caused. I wasn't aware of the EnWiki policy (and I don't think Commons have a similar), but I am glad that a solution that everyone could be happy with was found :) In kind regards, Henrik/heb [T C E] 15:00, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Surreptitious sketches and paparazzi paintings

This edit expanded the scope to include paintings and drawings of people (collectively "images"). Is this really the case? What are the legal issues with such media? Artworks are different from photographs in that there is a significant investment of time in performing the capture, and a degree of separation from reality, whether deliberate or for artistic or caricature purposes. There may also be some dispute that the artwork is actually of any one person. From what I can see wrt the legal country-specific cases, the law mainly deals with photography (which I think it reasonable to extend to moving pictures without the need to be explicit about it).

So I'm wondering if this is an unnecessary complication. It certainly makes the lead more complex to read. Do we really have any problem with surreptitious sketches and paparazzi paintings? We don't need to solve all problems involving people and Commons, and the guideline is named "Photographs of identifiable people". Thoughts? -- Colin (talk) 15:44, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't think that "surreptitious sketches" is intended. How could you tell whether a drawing was "surreptitious"? If I see someone and sketch them from memory next week, when the person isn't around, is that a "surreptitious sketch"? It's kind of a silly idea.
On the other hand, I don't think that we would actually want to host, say, nude sketches of someone's ex-girlfriend or paintings of ex-husbands engaged in defaming activities (e.g., shooting up a school). It's not about unfairly obtaining the sketch or painting, but about distributing images that could get us tied up in a libel or defamation lawsuit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:15, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough, WhatamIdoing, but I think the issue you've raised is easily addressed by revising the first section of the defamation section by adding some words in brackets so it reads: "Images (including non-photographic images) must not unfairly ridicule or demean the subject." In terms if the edit in question, I agree that it is unhelpful and confusing. Paintings and drawings give rise to different issues than photographs and we just can't tack on a reference to them in the lede. The new language should be reverted until there is some consensus on adding it. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 17:54, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I can't talk about other countries, but in at least the Danish legislation, the scope covers all form of images (in Danish: billeder) and not just photographs, including such things as portrait paintings (taking a photo of a person in public, going home, and then paint a painting from the photo and publish it is exactly the same situation as publishing the photo), caricatures, videos, croquis and other non-photographic works. As I mentioned previously here, I think a more precise approach to scope would be beneficial (beside photo also covering common used terms here like living and publish). --heb [T C E] 18:43, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it is simplest for this to be a guideline on photographs because (a) that's its name, which also determines the scope (b) photographs are overwhelmingly the issue. That the legal and ethical issues with photographs can also be applied to some extent to drawings, paintings, and to a lesser extent audio, is something that surely can be left for common sense and case-by-case examination. Part of the purpose of a guideline is to establish and record consensus on a common area of concern. I may be wrong, but I don't see this as a common area of concern. Perhaps folk can cite examples of problematic other images that would benefit from the guideline explicitly including them? So I think what's happening here is that folk are considering all the areas that might be relevant (which is good) and putting them into the pot (which isn't necessarily good). One compromise might be to include a statement at the end of the lead, which says that there are similar issues wrt other media such as artworks, video and audio. But I think it too strong to state (as Rd232's draft did) that the guideline fully extends to those areas -- because the law in particular does not.
Wrt scope, I agree we should continue to consider this. I don't think there is anything in Rd232's draft's scope section that isn't included here: We have a whole section on Identifiable; the beyond-death aspect is also included in the lead and the personality rights section; the other media issue is being discussed. -- Colin (talk) 09:02, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I can only agree that "photographs are overwhelmingly the issue" and because of that I don't think there is any point in changing the title of the guideline. That said I find the remark of "the law in particular does not [extends to those areas]" to be very country- (US-) centric, which is okay, but in that case that should be mentioned. I checked into German, Swedish and French laws which also appear to use the more generic term image or portraits rather than photograph. I wouldn't be surprised if most of Europe have similar approaches to this.
For the alive/dead part I wonder if the statement that "[i]n most countries, these issues only affect images where the person is identifiable and still alive" is actually true. Of course if it is, it is no problem, but I do believe that it is over-simplified and perhaps even misleading. --heb [T C E] 10:48, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
My point about the guideline not "fully extend"[ing] in those areas is indeed that internationally it does not. There are some countries where the law on portrait paintings is equivalent to portrait photographs but this isn't universally true -- hence once can't just assume they are equal, which is what Rd232's draft's scope section did. The fact that the legal issues become even more varied and confusing when one considers paintings and drawings, say, is a motivation for leaving it out for now. On a case-by-case basis, should someone AfD a painting with such issues, then really it needs folk to investigate the relevant laws rather than assume paintings=photographs.
As for the alive/dead part, you may be right. I wonder if that can be rewritten to "The legal and ethical issues are greatest when the subject of an image is clearly identifiable and still alive. However, there may still be problems after the subject is dead or if they cannot be (easily) identified."
Does that help? Colin (talk) 11:44, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Stating that "The legal and ethical issues are greatest when the subject of an image is clearly identifiable and still alive. However, there may still be problems after the subject is dead or if they cannot be (easily) identified." is from my point of view better, though I would like it to be a bit more clear-cut. I.e. "Though the legal and ethical protection often is most prominent when the subject is alive, in some jurisdictions the legal protection may extend years post death. Not being able to clearly identify the subject may also introduce another set of issues that should be considered carefully." In kind regards, Henrik/heb [T C E] 14:32, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
I think that Skeezix's idea about "Images (including non-photographic images) must not unfairly ridicule or demean the subject." addresses my main concern. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:09, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
It would definitely make it less ambiguous, which I think must be the goal here. In kind regards, Henrik/heb [T C E] 14:32, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Uploader request

File:Iraqi army t55 tank.jpg It seems one of the subjects didn't give consent. Anomizing is probably not an option. Would someone delete the version that he is referring to? I think he wants to keep some versions so I don't know how to tag it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:43, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

The version with the person has much better resolution than the others (which are not different versions, but other images). I think a soldier by his tank has little expectations or rights to privacy, so deleting the image is a bit hefty. On the other hand I am not sure the person is important to the image, so editing the image may indeed be an option (is he identifiable in the original version?). --LPfi (talk) 09:20, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
The uploader added a Jan/2013 request to a 2011 section of the help desk talk page. I came across it from my watchlist. Iraq is not on our list and we don't know if it was a private military compound or not. He may be getting a hard time about it so we may wish to honor his request.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:48, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

In general I think we should speedy such request, I don't know the particulars of this image, but with service personnel in conflict zones, an ill advised picture may lead to a lot worse than bruised egos, compromised security, endangerment of familes etc.--01:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Add "meta-data" to "clues may be obtained from...." sentence

Recommended change, to be applied to all language version:

Outside of the image, clues may be obtained from the image title, description, origin, source url, geolocation and date.


Outside of the image, clues may be obtained from the image title, description, origin, source url, and meta-data including but not limited to geolocation and date. Davidwr (talk) 03:58, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

re Identification section

This passage of the "Identification" section looks pretty off to me:

"Placing a black band over the eyes was historically used to hide patient identity in medical publications but is no longer considered effective.(Source: ICMJE) Pixelated features can sometimes be revealed by squinting one's eyes. These crude attempts to anonymise images may damage the value of an image to Commons to such a degree that it has limited or no realistic chance of being used."

OK, crude attempts are not good. So why not use uncrude techniques? It's easy enough to do. The passage should say something to this effect:

"Placing a black band over the eyes was historically used to hide patient identity in medical publications but is no longer considered effective, so don't do that. Pixelated features can sometimes be revealed by squinting one's eyes, so don't do that. An image editor's whirlpool feature may be be reverse-engineered, so don't do that. Just putting a black square over the face is effective but jarring and ugly, so that's not recommended. Using your image editor's blur to convert the recognizable features into an unrecognizable blur is simple, completely effective, and usually reasonably acceptable aesthetically. Ditto cropping identifying features. So do one of those. Of course, anonymizing the image in this manner may (or may not) damage the value of the image to some potential users."

I propose to rewrite the section along these lines if there's no objection.

Also, re the image examples under "Problems with attempts at anonymisation"... the first two are OK, but the third (David) seems pretty effective (assuming it was a random person and not David). Instead, the section should be called something lie "Examples of good and bad anonymisation", with a couple examples of each.

There are reasons not to anonymize, sometimes, and these are discussed. If those reasons are not applicable, then anonymyization should be considered, and some useful ways to do it described. Right? Herostratus (talk) 02:16, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I disagree with the proposed text, which for a start is way too informal. Please can you give (on this talk page) some actual examples of good and justified anonymisation. I disagree with you on the third example (David). Remember we are talking about cases where the person has not given their permission to be photographed or for that photograph to be published widely online. Do you think that cropping off the head makes it ok to publish a photograph of someone with full-frontal nudity without the necessary permission? An example where cropping to anonymise (to some degree) an image may be acceptable is patient photographs -- but in those cases consent is required as standard ethical practice. Colin (talk) 06:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure that you really can give a good example, because it depends on the circumstances, not just the visual appearance of the photo.
Imagine that there is some skin disease with a distinctive appearance. I happen to see it on someone in CC-BY-licensed Flickr photo, maybe someone at a public event. I crop the photo to remove half the picture. What's left is a good picture of the skin disease. Nobody (except maybe the person himself or herself, who sees that skin disease every day) simply looking at the picture would be able to say who it is. It's just somebody's shoulder, right?
But we're not trying to protect that person's privacy merely through visual inspection of the photo. What happens if you take that photo to a reverse-image search? Does TinEye or Google Images find it? (Oops, now everyone who searches knows what the person's face looks like.) Is there a link back to the original at Flickr? (Oops, now everyone who clicks the link knows what the person's face looks like.) Is there a description at Flickr? (Oops, now everyone who clicks the link knows when and where the photo was taken, and maybe even the person's name.) Is the photographer's name included? (Oops, now people know what social circles this person might belong to.)
The medical standard these days seems to be that you can use things if and only if there is no chance of the patient recognizing the image of himself. This pretty much limits you to microscope slides, and even then they're getting pretty paranoid. Our standard is a bit looser, since we're primarily concerned with whether other people can recognize you, but the cropped photo of David fails even that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:03, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess there are two angles here. There's the picture that clearly shouldn't be published in itself such as a nude taken without permission, that some folk on Commons think is just fine as long as we chop off their head or blur their face enough. Then there's the picture that has already been safely published but becomes an issue because you've attached a medical diagnosis (or labelled them as drunk or a prostitute or whatever else might be defaming or hurtful). Both cases are problematic without permission and I think it would be hard and possibly legally wrong for this guideline to advise anyone that cropping/blurring might avoid them being sued.
The Google image search thing is interesting because one doesn't have to stumble upon the diseased shoulder and wonder "who might that be"? Google images works the other way too, making it all the more likely that the defaming medical misdiagnosis will be found by someone with an interest.
The medical standard you mention only applies without consent. If you have consent then you can publish whatever the patient has agreed to. Which is great. Wikipedian Doc James says he has no problems getting consent for the photographs he takes and uploads.
It is also worth noting that stock image sites are even fussier. We don't require a model release, just your claim you got consent if someone asks. If I was a publisher of a book, I'd rather pay a few quid for a photograph with a model release and indemnity from the site, than take my chances with something found on Commons. Colin (talk) 16:15, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

What to do

Is there anything practical that we could add to Commons:Photographs of identifiable people#Removal requests for a person who discovers an unwanted picture of himself (or herself) on Commons? Even "Contact any current admin by e-mail" might be better than nothing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

  • If we do write something, we need to make it clear that the subject of a photo cannot always get the photo removed. - Jmabel ! talk 03:11, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
...unless they are a public figure called Jimbo and the image is hilarious. Penyulap 04:38, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Penyulap: I didn't say that they can never get it removed, I said they cannot always get it removed. More often than not, we accede to requests like this. I assume I know what image you are talking about, and we would almost certainly have readily granted a similar request from anyone other than perhaps a public political figure. - Jmabel ! talk 16:03, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
So we'll need to be careful not to promise more than we can deliver. On the other hand, there are situations in which we routinely delete non-consensual photos, e.g., naked pictures uploaded by ex-boyfriends. If a victim discovers this page, what can we tell her to do? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:39, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure that is particularly different from any other deletion request. It would almost certainly be granted, with the possible exception that (for example) the petitioner was a professional model and the ex-boyfriend a professional photographer, and similar images of the petitioner were widely published. In that case, the fact that the photographer happened to be an ex-boyfriend would probably be irrelevant. Or are you concerned about finding a way to avoid the Streisand effect. - Jmabel ! talk 16:07, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
The easy cases are when it is "out of scope" such as images which are neither educational in their own right nor used in a Wikimedia project outside the commons, or if there is a likelihood of lack of permission from the copyright holder, such as "I gave my boyfriend this picture I took of myself." Those can be handled quietly through normal deletion processes. On the other extreme are images which clearly don't meet any deletion criteria. For those the only real option would be office action or a court order.
Anyone seeking to have material removed should know about the en:Streisand effect, and they should know that not only will many mirrors not remove the material quickly or at all, but that some web sites make a point of hosting material which has been deleted from Wikimedia projects. Davidwr (talk) 19:05, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
So it sounds like the options are these:
  • If you are the photographer, then use CSD for copyvios (probably more useful for parents who took pictures of their kids, or do people really take that many photos of themseleves?)
  • If it's out of scope, but otherwise unremarkable, then use the usual deletion process (just like anyone else)
  • If it's sensitive material (so you don't want to attract public attention to it), then ??? We have to assume that the person is a newbie, which means that the person can't just go ask a friend who is an admin. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:29, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

It seems to me that to be in compliance with the resolution on Images of Identifiable People, in any case where the subject objects, except for unambiguously public locations or unambiguously public figures, we need unambiguous evidence of permission. Such images should be taken down promptly and quietly until such permission is established via OTRS. This would probably cost us some good images but it would contribute to public trust in the process and would also avoid having to make a lot of fine distinctions and difficult judgement calls in advance. The only thing that gives me pause is how to avoid false claims by people who are not the subject but simply object to the image, while still respecting the subject's privacy. Dankarl (talk) 16:34, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Wrt WhatamIdoing's original question, would they even find or know about this guideline? This is a guideline for User:xxx not for Joe Public. It may help any admin or advise any deletion discussion, but as far as helping viewers to know what to do about images they don't want here, surely that's the job of a Help page somewhere else. -- Colin (talk) 18:32, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
As far as I know there is no help-page on the subject. Until such as time (if it should ever arise) I think this page should "carry the burden" from the lack of a relevant help-page. Omitting good information, simply because it should be another place that may or may not be created in the future, doesn't sound right to me...
On the subject of what to do, I'm much on the same page as User:Dankarl, though I think that false claims is a relatively small problem, that can be handled through demanding that requests are sent to OTRS. --heb [T C E] 12:46, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
There was some discussion a couple months ago of having a "request removal" button as part of the image page; this would bring up a box with buttons for various cases - copyright, inappropriate image, and otherwise, which would then launch the appropriate response process. I don't remember whether lack of subject consent was specifically mentioned but it certainly could be. I don't have time today to chase this down but if needed will take a look tomorrow. Such a process would require a well defined and easily explained response path - part of the thinking behind by suggestion of 10 June, above. Dankarl (talk) 13:05, 11 June 2013 (UTC) The link is Commons:Village pump/Archive/2013/05#May 16 subsection Making it easier for problematic files to be brought to our attention sub-sub section Technical feature Anyone who knows how to link a subsection or sub-subsection directly please do so with this, thanks Dankarl (talk) 14:16, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

There is another discussion on a similar topic at Commons talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#G7:_Personality_rights. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:03, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Would it not be better as these could be sensitive issues to actually suggest that they to email a bureaucrat rather than just "any admin", I dont think this is a big volume issue and crats in general are more active as a group than admins are so random chance is unlikely to hit someone who is otherwise occupied. As crats have gone through multiple reviews they should be more able to act more discreetly, have a more indepth policy knowledge and should be able to address the concerns more adequately depending on the circumstances. Gnangarra 04:17, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that would probably work, but we need to be sure that the instructions and scope are very well-defined and standardized across multiple help pages. The current situation is really a mess.   — C M B J   07:22, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Review of Commons' Scope and Photographs of identifiable people is now OPEN

I am pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive review of our existing policy & guidelines on Commons: Project scope, and Commons:Photographs of identifiable people. This is an important review and will cover a number of contentious issues that have recently been extensively discussed both on and off Wiki. As background, you might like to look at these recent English Wikipedia Signpost articles:

Please visit the main review page to take part. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:17, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Problems with attempts at anonymisation

File:Teaching elementary school children.jpg was recently added to the section illustrating problems with attempts at anonymisation. I don't see how it illustrates a problem: it looks to me like a successful anonymisation in this case. Unless you already knew who was in that room, how would you break through the anonymity? - Jmabel ! talk 01:29, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

I've asked Túrelio about this. His intention was to show successful anonymisation so it is in the wrong place in the guideline. However, I still don't think this represents "best practice" which is what a guideline should do (or show "bad practice"). For starters, I suspect the image might get deleted soon. I'll look into this later but the uploader has only contributed a few pictures, some of which are already deleted. So I think there is good reason to suspect this one might not actually be free for us to use.
Photographing children in school is a consent nightmare. It is definitely a private place wrt our policy and at the very least any photography requires consent of the staff. Based on the website this photo came from, this appears to be a publicity shot by a professional organisation. Therefore I assume they were given permission to use the photo on their website provided they blur the children. But we have no evidence of this, and we don't know that consent for the image to be used beyond that single website was ever given.
Some guidelines on school photography can be found here and here. In my child's school, parents are allowed to take photographs (of school plays, etc) but not to upload them on the internet (facebook/flickr). In some schools it is just banned. There are consent forms for parents to sign for photographs to be used on the school website and also for photographs to be taken by the press or tv. Some children are regarded as "vulnerable" and great care must be taken not to photograph them for publication -- here we need professional standards of care.
I don't as a general rule, think we should encourage blurring people's faces, though it has its place. I see it used too often to "fix" an image that should never have been taken let alone uploaded here. Professional agencies like the press and TV know how to do this sufficiently to avoid revealing identity. Where the blurred person is not the subject of the photograph, or it is a crowd like this classroom, then it can be acceptable at times. If the person is the subject of the photograph, and the photograph requires consent, then blurring the person's face is not ethical to escape the requirement for consent. (There may of course be cases where the subject agrees on condition their face is blurred, but then you've got consent).
So for this school picture, I'd prefer if the uploader made a statement that consent for general web usage was given by the school provided the children's faces were blurred. That would be best-practice. However, I suspect this photograph was taken off the publicity website without permission... Colin (talk) 07:45, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

regulatory "creep"

when is the last time this guideline was voted on by the general community, & just how much has the text changed since then?

Lx 121 (talk) 16:11, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

I might be missing something, but it appears that the last discussion promoted on the Village Pump was circa January 2013. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:30, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The dozen topics immediately above this are mostly the record of the discussion begun in January and its antecedents going back to September of last year. The exception is the announcement of the discussion currently ongoing at main review page which began in June. As far as I am aware, Commons does not generally have a formal vote of the community; decisions are made by consensus of those who show up for a particular discussion. This may be informal and gradual, as here, or it may involve acceptance or rejection of a particular formulated proposal.
I would describe the recent changes as mostly a response to the Foundation's policy decision wmf:Resolution:Images_of_identifiable_people and issues arising in its practical implementation, ie a deliberate and substantial change in approach rather than spontaneous or incremental regulatory creep. Dankarl (talk) 19:07, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The only change that has been made to this guideline since January (other than spelling and grammar) is the addition of the "Country specific" section which lists the country-specific laws that are related. Kaldari (talk) 02:33, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Undiscussed addition

I´ve removed this undiscussed addiction. Tm (talk) 21:04, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Addiction => addition. Had me wondering for a moment. - Jmabel ! talk 00:42, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

When did I need approval from anyone to edit Wikipedia? You should have asked for consensus to remove it given it is already considered policy ( see Commons:Sexual content }. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:10, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Here I agree with Saffron. Public discussions on such contents do more harm to the subject depicted. See this too. JKadavoor Jee 03:24, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Since when is Commons:Sexual Content considered policy (it reads in its top "The Commons community has rejected this guideline, policy, or process." and in Commons:Courtesy deletions it reads "This page is a proposed Commons guideline, policy, or process.", so this addition by the back door of a rejected policy is out of process -- 08:03, 6 November 2013‎ Tm

What on earth is going on here? This is a wiki. If you have a problem with the addition please explain what is specifically wrong with it without wikilawyering. I see nothing here wrt sexual content or rejected policies. Please explain why the advice given is not true or bad? Colin (talk) 09:36, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

As User:Tm mentions Commons:Sexual Content (which User:Saffron Blaze references to above) was rejected, so referencing to that does not make much sense. That said I think it is more or less "just" a different way to the same goal, as is already described in the Removal requests-section, so there is probably little harm in adding it there (but don't over-dramatize it by making it italic and whatnot). I have no idea how many office actions are actually performed or how under-/overloaded WMF-staff are to do office actions, so it may be a good idea to consult them, before opening this door as well. Also neither meta:Office actions nor Commons:Office actions guides the user in a simple way on how to proceed with requesting the office action, so there is a potential danger, that it may confuse more or the requests end up the wrong place. --heb [T C E] 14:55, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Contacting WMF Legal is the right procedure if the subject is not a Wikimedian or the subject thinks he has legal standing to have the picture removed. See this discussion. But we can reword that point to make it clear. " If you feel you have legal standing to have the picture removed (for instance if you feel it violates your privacy), you can write to legal at explaining why and making that request. If you don't have legal cause, the legal team is likely to have to ask the volunteers to remove it as a courtesy. If you do, they can remove it as an Office action." JKadavoor Jee 15:07, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Actually, contacting info@ is the right procedure for subjects who are not Wikimedians. WMF Legal does not have capacity to handle all such requests, and the OTRS team have been coached on what language to look for to pass along requests that do seem to have legal basis. My response to you, User:Jkadavoor, on my talk page suggested contacting legal@ only if she believed she had legal basis and was specific to your situation. :) OFFICE deletions are very rare; most requests for image removals are handled by the community on a courtesy basis. If anything were added, OTRS is probably the best start, although you can always direct them to wmf:Contact us, which explains how to contact our designated and registered agents in case of legal issues. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:21, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Maggie for the clarification. JKadavoor Jee 16:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Procedural comment: I am not as familiar with the "Wiki way" on the Commons, but on the English Wikipedia, the "Wiki way" when it comes to guidelines is either "propose, discuss, change if there is consensus" or "BOLDLY edit the guideline with or without saying anything on the talk page, wait for it to be reverted with or without an initial comment by the person doing the reverting, then discuss and if there is consensus, make the change," with the second method used when the person making the change believes in good faith that the change will be non-controversial. Of course, if it is reverted, that means he guessed wrong about the "non-controversial"-ness of the change and discussion is required. Davidwr (talk) 15:33, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Exactly; that is the procedure everywhere. And, now we have a discussion. JKadavoor Jee 15:49, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
if you reverting something give a real reason not that it hasn't been discussed. 20:05, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Mia Culpa, I must have looked at the help page and assumed policy: Regardless, why does this useful and valid edit need reverting? Saffron Blaze (talk) 00:58, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I think you can add it back unless somebody provide a reason. As most subjects are non Wikimedians, we need to provide a provision for them to contact. Whenever I visit a strange site and need to communicate with an authorized person, "Contact us" is the place where I go first. JKadavoor Jee 02:45, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I would caution that anywhere you send them should be targeted. Generally, if they pick the WMF as initial contact, it's going to slow down the processing of their requests significantly. The volunteer response team email is manned by multiple people; the legal inbox is manned by one. She's awesome, but issues in that box can be complex, and when there's a lot of traffic the wait for any reply can be substantial. This morning I received a letter at answers@ (which I monitor) from somebody asking that their picture be removed for privacy concerns. My response basically boils down to, "I'm sorry, but I can't help you. Please write to info-en@." There's nothing else I can do because the WMF is not authorized to bypass community processes. Sending them to the Foundation as the first resort is not likely to help and may actually hurt most people who make these requests.
Commons has its own "contact us" in the sidebar of every page. Why not include something more nuanced about who to contact for this issue at Commons:Contact_us/Problems if there's community consensus? (For that matter, I don't know why Help:Sexual content doesn't link to that page - it has the actual email address to write to, whereas the Foundation's "contact us" page does not.) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:54, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks again, for seriously looking into this matter. But, when somebody see a picture in a project (most likely it will be another project); the page gives no clue that it is hosted here other than "This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information from its description page there is shown below". The "Contact us" page linked there will be something like Wikipedia:Contact_us. :(JKadavoor Jee 12:09, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
That doesn't seem related to a proposed change to this page, though. :) People who see the link here are already on Commons. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:06, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
So, amend the destination for the contact link and we are good to go? Remember the intent is provide a private way for people to contact someone with the authority to remove images where consent was not provided and where addressing this through normal channels is likely to exacerbate the harm already caused. Saffron Blaze (talk) 00:40, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Putting a link to Commons:Contact us/Problems under the Removal requests-section, seems like a good way to address the issue. I would probably rephrase it a bit, towards something like: If you find a private photograph of yourself posted here without your consent, you may address the issue privately through this page, rather than going through the regular process with public discussion. - but that is after all a matter of taste. --heb [T C E] 09:18, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Seems enough. Currently the Commons:Contact us/Problems page is talking only about "Copyright violations" and "Inappropriate images of children" under "Report abuse". "Inappropriate images of identifiable people" should also need to be handled. JKadavoor Jee 10:47, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
The use of the term "private photograph" implies only an image in a private setting whereas in many places photographs without consent are illegal regardless of location. Even where photographs of people in public is legal should we not consider deletion where consent was not obtained and the nature of the image is likely to cause embarrassment/harm to a private person (versus public figure). Obviously this latter case would require editorial judgement on part of the reviewers. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:51, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Sorry; I overlooked it. "Inappropriate media/photographs of" is enough; leaving the decision to the closer whoever they may be. JKadavoor Jee 05:16, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

✓ Done Re-inserted with enough modifications as suggested above. JKadavoor Jee 11:41, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Jee. I did a bit of editing on the phrasing. I also noted the section on "removal requests". I wonder if this bit would be best placed there? Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:52, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
I went ahead and made the move and I think simplified the whole concept. Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:09, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks; it seems more simple to understand. JKadavoor Jee 04:30, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
There is now a wording "deletion request may also be sent privately through this page." "This page" is a very bad link text and it is not obvious how that page can be used for the purpose. We should either explain here and give a real address or link to a page explaining the issue, such as "if discretion is required a deletion request may also be sent privately, see Commons:...". The section is also otherwise a bit weirdly worded. --LPfi (talk) 14:04, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
We need a subhead under Commons:Contact_us/Problems#Report abuse, something like "Inappropriate images of you". JKadavoor Jee 15:13, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
be bold, i'd do it but as an IP I am sure it would cause the world to end. 19:19, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I have asked for an addition to be made on the talk page Jee pointed out. As to my weird wording... The IP is bold. Saffron Blaze (talk) 22:30, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Caricatures and cartoons of identified or identifiable people

On COM:VP I proposed a "Moratorium on user-generated art about living people", which doesnt have much support. It was suggested by Jkadavoor that I help formulate guidelines & policy instead, so I hope I am in the right spot.

One of the concerns I have is that many of our caricatures/cartoons do not justify their existence here on Commons, or provide context in which the cartoon should be understood. For instance, File:Karl Meersman Sarkozy caricature.jpg is saying something about Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. At first glance it looks to be an inappropriate statement about the couple, however maybe there is a specific event that puts it in context.

Another example is File:Ashraf Mansour, Chairman of the German University in Cairo.gif (which I have nominated for deletion). It is the second result on Google Image Search, and seems disproportionately negative. He is probably notable for English Wikipedia standards, so there is opportunity to provide information about the event on his bio or the article about the institution. But this looks like a student unionism dispute, which happen the world over and dont generally merit being discussed in detail on Wikipedia.

On the other end of the spectrum, File:Savater.jpg appears to be intended to be positive, but it doesnt look to be high quality, which may reflect badly on Wikimedia when viewed the the lens of the subject. However maybe in context this is an important and appropriate caricature. DRed as out of scope (user-created artwork). -mattbuck (Talk) 16:34, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Somewhere in the middle we have File:Geraldo alckmin by Koehne.jpg (also nominated for deletion), which looks like it may be intending to be a portrait drawing, but due to inaccuracies it is not very nice. If the image page stated the creator was trying to be accurate, we can ask the creator (or others) to fix the problems - if it is intentionally distorted we could debate the appropriateness of this. Without a statement either way, it is hard to have a constructive discussion.

So, what I would like to see is that we raise the bar for caricatures/cartoons/digitally altered photographs of identified/identifiable people, requiring that the uploader provide a rationale (exegesis) for the artwork. There are some useful thoughts about this at Commons talk:Project scope/Update 2013/Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose, but I want to stress I am not wanting this criteria to be applied to any photograph which has some artistic element to it, because writing exegesis for hundreds of photos that include identifiable people would limit contributions as points out there. IMO the simplest way to codify this is to say that if the uploader describes intention (e.g. why the facial features should be distorted based on context), the media will be evaluated on its 'appropriateness of the distortion'; otherwise it will be its 'likeness to the subject', with reasonable allowance for the methods used (charcoal, speed painting, one handed, etc) John Vandenberg (chat) 13:59, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

  • A good move John; will look into it soon. Jee 14:57, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
In a quick look I didn't see your examples well cover the real, horrible face of Commons. You didn't mention any example of digitally altered pictures. There are many unaltered photographs also we should remove. I don't know whether you are aware of some previous discussions like Commons talk:Photographs of identifiable people/Update 2013/Moral issues and Commons talk:Project scope/Update 2013/Stage 2 which all abandoned on half way. Hope we can finish this to a good outcome. Jee 15:32, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Jkadavoor, there are not many examples of (significantly) digitally altered pictures in Category:Photoshopped images, and especially not good ones for examples of problems. Where are the problematic ones hiding? John Vandenberg (chat) 01:41, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
They are scattered in the sea of Commons. File:Nalgas 002.jpg is just one example, which is under Category:Photo_manipulation. Earlier, at Commons talk:Courtesy deletions#Lame BLP images, Canoe1967 mentioned that even low quality photographs caught the subject in an awkward pose (accidentally or intentionally) can be considered offensive, and should be removed if better alternative available. Jee 02:32, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I think using files as a test case is not the best way to make policy so I appreciate the time and effort putting forth this study. As a baseline I wonder if much of this angst would go away if we discourage non-notable authors from self publishing to Commons. This might align well with Wikimedia's mission and COM:SCOPE, but it would be a major slap in the face to "free cultural" ideals. I guess the question becomes are we a curated collection or a un-regulated repository? Given we routinely delete images that are non-notable or low quality user generated art the answer would seem to be a curated collection. However, once the image has even a hint of a political, religious, racial or sexual motif people start screaming censorship. Saffron Blaze (talk) 15:57, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
  • This is a discussion, and everybody is welcome. No need to jump in with that red shield and try to to close the mouths of us. It surprising that the Freedom of speech activist doing it. Have a nice day. :) Jee 02:32, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Please don't put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. Thank you, -- Cirt (talk) 02:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you could comment on the proposal itself, given that you have !voted Oppose. John Vandenberg (chat) 03:15, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, I would love to hear whether cirt wants us to keep everything that gets uploaded to Commons. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:33, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. There may be some cartoons of no merit, by non-notable artists uploaded here. But the specifics of this argument show that it would be harmful for Wikipedia and Commons' educational mission. First of all, Carlos Latuff is a notable political cartoonist (articles on 17 Wikipedias). We can't say that we're going to censor the body of work of a notable artist, then present that censored version as if it was still representative. Another work has been on here for 7 years, and the deletion request seems to want someone to go back to the original pencil drawing and make changes. Seven years later, for a pencil sketch: is it presumed the artist kept that bit of paper and will rush to redraw, or are we presuming that someone will modify that image, and damage the original artistic intent?
Further, these files may well have been reused by books or other sites in that time; deleting such works that were made for Commons breaks the documentation of the CC-licensing for any reuses of that work. It's far too late to delete such things now.
These are all such terrible suggested deletions that they show a fundamentally misguided approach, and a fundamental misunderstanding of how one determines what is encyclopedic when it comes to art.
I'm not fundamentally against coming up with some guidelines as to determining if a satire is sufficiently notable, but nothing so far suggested should even be considered as part of those guidelines, and some of the works don't appear to be satires in the first place - remember that in the early days of Wikipedia, because one wasn't allowed to Fair Use photographs of living people, drawings were used as the next best thing in a few cases.
Quite simply, if the caricature is by a notable artist, and we somehow get it, We should keep it. Several of the things this proposal would get rid of are by notable artists, some are in use to illustrate those artists. It would be insane to say that we cannot cover modern, notable artists, because someone dislikes the drawing(s) we actually have access to.
Further, Commons is meant to be a resource for sites to find images; let's not be capricious about deleting things unless there are actual problems on the lines of copyvio. If it's uploaded and deleted in a very short period of time as not encyclopedic (and genuinely is not encyclopedic) that's one thing. When it's something that may well have been used on Wikipedia for years before something better came along, it may well have substantial reuse, and we'd best leave well enough alone in the absence of real problems, which have not been demonstrated. Adam Cuerden (talk) 04:43, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose – What comes after providing rationales? Deleting caricatures and Polandball comics with unpopular rationales? Artists cease contributing to Commons since writing tedious, lengthy descriptions takes the fun out of making and sharing caricatures for free? This proposal can only lead to censorship and the loss of valuable artists and artwork. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 05:06, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Michaeldsuarez, many of the Polandball comics on Commons already contain rationales in the descriptions, and most of the caricatures you're probably worried about have self-evident rationales that would just need to be written. For digitally modified images, we already have templates like {{retouched}} and {{Bilderwerkstatt}} which record what modifications were made, and usually contributors also explain why they made a change in those templates. All I am proposing is that we establish the same for non-photographic images (are there templates already?), and that the Commons community require that these are filled in for material about identified/identifiable people. (And to answer part of Adam's concern quickly: items 'by a notable artist' (such as Carlos Latuff) is IMO a sufficient explanation in 99% of cases; however I contend that in some instances 'by a notable artist' may not be in itself sufficient justification.) Yes it is a bit of paperwork, but it can be done after the upload, and IMO it is a reasonable amount of 'extra work' for the extra visibility obtained by a) naming a person on the metadata, or using their likeness in an obvious way in the media and b) being hosted on Wikimedia Commons. It will increase the quality of our repository as we will know what was intended and why. I hope we all agree that searchers and re-users should have such basic information about items in our collection. This proposal is to require it for identified/identifiable people, or if that cohort is too large I would be happy if it was required only for identified/identifiable living people. John Vandenberg (chat) 13:55, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Adam Cuerden. While I am a strong proponent of allowing deletions for COM:IDENT issues and I fully support the WMF resolution on BLP, I fail to see how this proposal will aid either of those issues. I think COM:SCOPE and the principle of notability can address the concerns raised in this proposal. Mandating explanations might solve the issue but I am concerned this would be overly complex to moderate. Saffron Blaze (talk) 05:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg CommentYes; Adam made a good point. Jee 05:30, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment -- I agree with comments above by Adam Cuerden and Michaeldsuarez. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 12:46, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

example images

I looked at the example images on this page, and I am not sure if they are right.

  • Anna Unterberger image is taken outdoors which is usually not considered a "private" place, unless it is some sort of walled garden. May be an indoor "home" photograph would ba a better example.
  • Jimmy Wales photo claims that he "allowed his image to be used". I do not doubt it but there is no mention of it in the file itself. Should we use some template for it?--Jarekt (talk) 13:36, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
My rationale for the two photos are as follows. It is hard to find an image with all the required qualities that also looks good and is memorable.
  • The Anna Unterberger image has got a consent template on it whereas the older Larry Sanger image did not. Both were presumably shot in a private garden. Both involve the subject clearly posing for the camera, which indicates a degree of consent. I agree a professional photograph of a famous person in their home might be better yet. I would prefer if it had the consent template. In comparison to Sanger, the Unterberger photo is professionally taken and she's a whole lot easier on the eye :-)
  • I'm not sure there's a template that says "You can use this photo for WMF publicity". I'm not even sure that's the sort of thing Commons would document, as it is really a contract between subject and publisher, neither of which is Commons. As you say, that Jimbo allowed this photo is not really in doubt even if we have no evidence. Readers will be familiar with the image from publicity.
-- Colin (talk) 14:59, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
The reason I was looking at those images was to find out the proper format of adding consent template. I guess we still should be on a lookout for better images to make the point. --Jarekt (talk) 15:32, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Jarekt, in addition to your point (which is valid), the lead photo is also less than ideal as an example in this way: the consent asserted is not for broad publication, but merely for publication. For all we know, she could have consented to publication only in a specific publication. It says "… specifically consented to publication of this photograph or video"
I also think it would be best to use examples that do not draw from within the Wikimedia movement. (The lead photo used to be of Larry Sanger, so it seems we have already moved in that direction.) Maybe a new photo could be found to replace the one of Jimmy Wales. -Pete F (talk) 17:35, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
  • We need to ensure we get the right balance when insisting on consent. A simple portrait should only require an attestation to consent. In instances where the image might reasonably be construed as unflattering or embarrassing then the threshold should be a higher. However, if the subject of the photo is doing something that would be notable in its own right then the need to document the act may outweigh concerns of COM:IDENT. The key to all this will be editorial judgment not prescriptive policy. Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:46, 26 December 2013 (UTC)