Commons talk:Screenshots

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Have to use a free operating system?[edit]

If I use a free tool to take the screenshot, and it is a screenshot of a free program, like Mozilla Firefox, does it really matter if they are running on a non-free operating system? Geo Swan 07:19, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

As long as you remove propietary widgets and window decorations, there's no need to use only free OS. Check Commons:Deletion_requests/Windows_screenshots. By the way, beware with Mozilla Firefox because it includes non free logos such as the Firefox logo itself. FedericoMP 23:17, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
The referenced Briefing Paper on Copyright in Screenshots does not say anything about the need of a free operation system so I removed that part. I think it's a missunderstanding of the part: "when seeking to license screenshots of software this may involve not only any graphical images included in the software, but also toolbars, fonts and the general look and feel of the software" I guess "toolbars" means the selection of buttons defined in the sourcecode of the program, it's icons, but not the grey square itself created by a shared library. Same for the "look and feel of the software", in my eyes this is more the arrangement and content of the widgets, not the widget of simple geometrical shape itself, which looks very similiar in modern operating systems anyway. --Matt 23:58, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Multiple licences[edit]

What if one takes a screenshot with some icons licenced under GPL and others licenced under CC-BY-SA? How would one licence the screenshot? Nichalp (talk) 09:13, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Disregard this policy?[edit]

There is current discussion about disregarding this policy at Commons:Deletion requests/Screenshots with non-free logosDanorton (talk) 19:22, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Use of professional drawing software[edit]

Users are reading this page as a prohibition on uploading images produced by professional drawing software, see Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Robot autosond catia2.jpg. Regardless of the legal merits of this page, that is not what this page is about, and that should be clear from its wording. The intro is far too categorical. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 12:20, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Screenshots of non-free programs[edit]

A question appeared on the Help desk which brings up a case that needs clarifying on Commons:Screenshots:

Namely, what if the copyright owner of a nonfree software program wants to upload a screenshot to Commons? Currently, Commons:Screenshots says:

  • Computer screenshots are subject to the copyright of the displayed program. Thus, screenshots must not be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons unless all software and data shown in them are under some free license.
  • Thus, if the programmers do not agree to publish the program under a free license, and they do not explicitly license the screenshot (or all screenshots) under a free license, the screenshot is not free.

The first statement seems to exclude a possibility that the second statement mentions (in negation): the copyright holder explicitly licensing a screenshot under a free license. It would be nice to clarify exactly what Wikimedia Commons needs from the copyright holder (presumably this would involve dealing with OTRS). --Teratornis (talk) 07:33, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

The reason OTRS may be needed is because you got this non-free program out there and here some uploader is trying to say that a screenshot of it is free because they say so.. we need proof they are who they say they are. I'm guessing any program notable enough for WP has some kind of official site from where they can email us the permission. 08:24, 5 March 2009 (UTC)


Might be an odd question, but this page talks about screenshots in terms of static images. Do the same rules apply to screencasts videos of free applications?

Yes. Palosirkka (talk) 13:16, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Photos of Screens[edit]

This policy is being used to mass-delete photos of devices with screens showing user interface elements and operating systems. This would seem to me to be fair use, since the photo illustrates a device and the copyright images included are "commentary" regarding the operating system used by that device. In other words, a photo of a phone (a physical object which can legally be photographed) that is powered on to show its operating system (a copyrighted image) might be allowable under copyright since the copyright image is substantially degraded and is used to illustrate the functionality of that device. IANAL, obviously, but feel that this kind of mass-delete is not in the best interest of Wikimedia. --Sfoskett (talk) 16:48, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

I did not realize that Commons does not allow Fair Use until now. I still believe that an image of a phone that happens to be showing its operating system should perhaps be allowed as "de minimis" and continue of the feeling that this policy is harmful to the quality of the Commons. --Sfoskett (talk) 16:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Licensing of single stills[edit]

I have altered this thusly in the hopes of clarifying that a single still might be licensed. The unclear pronoun antecedent in the prior suggests that "it" (the work) must be licensed under free license before a still from it could be used. I trust that if the makers of a top Hollywood film wanted to grant us a screenshot from a DVD, we wouldn't refuse it unless they licensed the whole shebang? :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:00, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree, it is confusing. It also possibly prevented me from obtaining a free license from a film distributor for a screenshot of a person within their film. They are going to release it under CC-BY-SA, but read this page and thought if they released the image under that license, the whole film would have to be released under CC-BY-SA. Surely this isn't so. Here is an example of the very same thing that was done last year and it was rechecked by other OTRS users during the Featured article review to make sure the filmmaker did indeed release the image under CC. It all checked out. MikeAllen (talk) 00:19, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Sources doesn't support article[edit]

Reading the sources provided that still works I get the impression that the article comes to the wrong conclusions.

  1. The link # ↑ Briefing Paper on Copyright in Screenshots - ( copy) is dead.
  2. The link # ↑ debian-legal: Re: Wikipedia and Commons screenshots of GNU programs essentially says: "Ask that question to FSF, not here, but there should be no problems, unless there is a copyrighted image or logotype in the screenshot"
  3. The link # ↑ Use of Microsoft Copyrighted Content looks very much like a restriction of the usual democratic rights (if copyrighted logos and images are removed) like the right to make citations, and I guess it won't hold in a court in most democratic countries. I believe it is not intended as such, but instead a tool for cutting the EULA licenses of any oppositional license holders of any MicroSoft product, so it is a licensee problem, not a real image copyright problem. It is politically very interesting, but of very little value for Commons license reasoning.

But I'm not a lawyer, so I may be quite wrong. Rursus (talk) 20:16, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Use of screenshots[edit]

Google allows the use of screenshots (see the following link: Can somebody help me to change the policy? I think software companies should be able to allow the use of screenshots in for example wikimedia commens Timboliu (talk) 07:19, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Google's terms are not compatible with Commons licensing requirements, as they explicitly prohibit derivative works and commercial uses. LX (talk, contribs) 08:25, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I send this to Google Brand Permission. Timboliu (talk) 06:08, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Commercial use[edit]

Regarding the use of screenshots. In the email template it says: "to use the work in a commercial product". What kind of commercial products are we talking about? Due to this sentence a lot of companies don't want to allow the use of screenshots. Cheers, Tim, Timboliu (talk) 07:54, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

The actual rights granted are always governed by the selected license, so read the licensing terms. The e-mail template merely highlights in general terms the key properties that any license on Commons must have. Commons' licensing requirements state that works must be free for any purpose, including commercial purposes, as far as copyright is concerned. There is no list enumerating the commercial uses that this includes or does not include, because it really includes any and all purposes. Neighboring rights may, however, limit some uses slightly. For example, the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license contains the text "You may not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the Original Author ... of You or Your use of the Work". These principles apply to all content on Commons – not just screenshots. A lot of companies, particularly companies that make money by producing and distributing copyrighted content, will not be willing to release their works under a free license; that's to be expected. LX (talk, contribs) 10:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Text-only screenshots of copyrighted materials[edit]

Does this page cover text-only images of copyrighted television shows? Look at File:Shameless 2004 Intertitle.png; is it copyrightable just because it came from the television show? --George Ho (talk) 00:33, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

That can be a {{pd-textlogo}} regardless. ViperSnake151 (talk) 01:00, 25 May 2013 (UTC)


So I gather that Android screenshots seem to have passed the threshold somehow, because it's governed by the Apache license, but the trouble is that for many people it's not always easy to tell the difference between stock Android apps, the stock launcher, and those apps and launchers added by phone (device) manufacturers. -Mardus (talk) 05:23, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

You're right. People seem to think that "everything goes" regarding Android, while you should only use the open-sourced icons from the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) if you want to claim the Apache license. Otherwise, the image can end up with proprietary components, which is against Commons policy. Almost all Android phones come bundled with proprietary Google and manufacturer-specific apps, including close copies of open-source AOSP apps, but with slightly different, proprietary app icons. The only sure way to know which screenshots are fully under the Apache license is to cross-reference every displayed copyright-eligible icon from GitHub, like with File:Android 4.4.2.png. Files like File:Android 4.2 screen image.jpg, File:Android 4.4 screen image.jpg, File:Android 4.4 with stock launcher.png, File:AndroidKitKatHomeScreen.jpg and File:Android 4.2 screen image.jpg contain proprietary Google app icons, although it might be possible to argue that some of those are actually copyright-ineligible (cf. Chrome, Play Store, Gmail icons, which are all in Commons under a PD-ineligible claim). But I think the best scenario would be if uploaders avoid using those proprietary icons altogether in their Android screenshots. --hydrox (talk) 16:14, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

JISC reference[edit]

When I saw ARCHIVED (meaning not current) I tried to figure out if that simply means obsolete. Actually it means delete me, nobody cares about some ten years old legal essay in a Microsoft Word document about the situation in (unspecified parts of) the UK. –Be..anyone (talk) 03:45, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Screenshot of free content in non-free editor[edit]

mw:File:2015-03-16_RCStream_CodePen.png (note not on commons yet) is a a screenshot of , which is a public MIT-licensed code snippet and its output running in one of the online JavaScript edit-run-share playgrounds. So this is free content presented or "framed" by a commercial product with an unclear license, similar to content framed in a browser, or framed by elements of a desktop UI. In this case the actual design elements of the CodePen product are minimal, just the layout and color scheme and some buttons at the bottom.

Commons:Screenshots as written is confusing:

... If a screenshot contains icons or content of non-free sites, it is not free[2] but an exception is to be made where the content is de minimis.
Thus, if the copyright holder(s) (usually the programmers, software company, producer, or broadcaster) do not agree to publish the program under a free license, and they do not explicitly license the screenshot (or all screenshots) under a free license,

The "Thus" is not a follow-on from this "but". So the page says one thing, dangles an exception, then makes a blank statement as if the exception doesn't apply.

I asked CodePen on Twitter and they were confused. I think De minimis should apply in this case. However, I don't want to crop out all the CodePen elements because I want to show the free code running in this fine tool.

I'm writing articles about developing using Wikimedia APIs, so I'm going to be taking more screenshots of free content running inside various developer tools with murky copyright and licensing policies.

Thanks for any insight!

-- SPage (WMF) (talk) 22:30, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

SPage (WMF) - That language you term confusing is a recent addition, and not a good one. Some reverting may be in order. Proprietary developer tool elements will in many cases qualify as free per {{pd-textlogo}}, much like the 'Shameless' image discussed above; take a look at both. De minimis and {{pd-simple}} may help too, and they can apply in combination. But in some cases, your screen shots may be not free, but perhaps still usable if a FUR (fair use rationale) is allowed where you want to use them. Hope that helps. --Elvey (talk) 03:38, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

Copyfraud - Creative Commons logos[edit]

The Creative Commons logos are most certainly NOT licensed under the free CC-BY license. The actual terms under which they're licensed can be seen at ! Page edited accordingly. --Elvey (talk) 03:24, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

PNG, JPG[edit]

Even Administrators upload Screenshots as a JPG[1], and therefore make unnecessary big files with low quality.

It should be added to save the Screenshot as PNG (or GIF) (there are very few exceptions where JPG could make sense).

 — Johannes Kalliauer - Talk | Contributions 19:03, 28 August 2017 (UTC)