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OTRS Noticeboard
Main OTRS-related pages

OTRS stands for Open-source Ticket Request System. OTRS is a tool used by the Wikimedia projects, including Commons, to manage and archive email conversations. The main use of OTRS in relation to Commons is to verify and archive licensing permissions.

In some cases, sending email to OTRS may be required in order to provide evidence that the copyright holder has given permission to publish a file under a free license. Such evidence should be sent to (or a language specific address). OTRS is also used to handle email reports of copyright violations.

Emails sent to OTRS are handled by a multilingual team of trusted volunteers. Each topic is assigned a unique ticket number to keep related emails together and to ensure that correspondence can be found and re-examined at a later date. The correspondence is not visible to the public.

OTRS volunteer interface
An image that received its permission for use via OTRS

Each ticket will be reviewed by a volunteer. If there is sufficient evidence of a valid permission, the volunteer will mark the file(s) concerned as reviewed. The volunteer will also act to restore any files which may have been deleted before the permission could be verified, so when following the procedure described here, there is no need to request undeletion. If there is not sufficient evidence, the volunteer may request additional information from the correspondent. Volunteers will also act to ensure that any copyright violations that come to their attention are deleted.

The number of active Commons OTRS volunteers is quite small in relation to the number of emails received. The current backlog for tickets in English is approximately 8 days. Experienced Commons editors are encouraged to join our team of volunteers and improve our response times.

Inquiries about the validity or status of an OTRS ticket can be made at the OTRS Noticeboard.

Emails are handled by community volunteers. The Wikimedia Foundation cannot guarantee confidential treatment of any sensitive information you include in your message.

Licensing images: when do I contact OTRS?

I have received permission to upload the image to Commons.
Please forward us the permission to the address listed above. We require that the owner makes a clear statement that they release the image under a free license. To help prevent confusion or misunderstandings we really prefer one of the email templates be used. Permission grants must specifically contain a free license grant and may not merely give permissions for Commons or Wikipedia. If you have already uploaded the image to Commons, follow the instructions on Template:OTRS pending.
I am the copyright owner but my picture has been previously published without a free license.
Please send us a clear statement that you wish to release your work (with a link) under a specific free license. See Commons:Email templates for the preferred forms. Alternatively, add a free license to your work and place {{license review}} on the file description page on Commons.
I regularly publish my pictures elsewhere and want to avoid the hurdle of sending permission statements for every upload.
Please send us a clear statement that your Commons account (or some other Commons account) is authorized to licence your works, either any work or some set or works, e.g. "my images from event X, 2013-10-15".
I am the copyright owner and my image is being hosted on Commons without permission.
Send us an email (to with as much information as possible, such as who you are and where the document was published previously.

When contacting OTRS is unnecessary

I do not have permission for the image and it has not been released under a free license.
Commons can only accept images that are under a free license or in the public domain.
I took the image myself and it hasn't been previously published (and there is no other copyright involved).
Just follow the instructions found on the Commons:Upload page, unless the image is of outstanding quality or there is some other reason your authorship may be doubted.
The image was first published on my website, or on my space in a shared website.
That's great! Please follow Creative Commons' instructions to adopt the free culture license of your choice. It will then be reviewed when files are uploaded by you or others. Use the Internet Archive's "Save Page Now" feature to store a proof of your license statement.
I found the image on Flickr and it was released under a free license there.
Commons has a procedure in place for reviewing those images. Please have a look on Commons:Flickr images.

If you are not the copyright holder

If you are not the copyright holder, and the work is not in the public domain or available under a Commons-compatible free license, you need to contact the copyright holder:

  1. Before you upload the file to Commons, contact the copyright holder and ask them to release the work under a free license.
    • The copyright holder must choose one of the licenses permitted at Commons; in particular, restricting use to Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects is not acceptable. See Commons:Email templates for a recommended reply from the author.
  2. When you receive a reply, please check that the license authorized by the copyright holder is appropriate to Commons. If so, upload the image to Commons, then tag the file {{subst:OP}} to add a dated OTRS pending notification.
  3. Following this, ask the author to forward the email with their clear statement of permission to, including the full header and the previously exchanged correspondence with you, and a link to the image on Commons.
    • Ask the author to include the image information on the origin of it (source) and authorized by the copyright license (which should be in the email).
  4. A volunteer will later check the email in OTRS to verify that all is well with the permission sent by the author and, if so, they will replace the {{OTRS pending}} with {{PermissionOTRS}}.

(If you are the copyright holder writing to confirm license for a previously published work you have uploaded, you should, of course, send the permission letter yourself.)

Declaration of consent for all enquiries

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We get a large number of ambiguous e-mails from copyright holders intending to allow Wikipedia to reuse their content. (such as "I allow Wikipedia to reuse my photos"). Unfortunately, such permissions are not sufficient from a legal point-of-view. We need a more-specific declaration of consent to accept your permission. You can use the following template to do that.

  • Before you send the e-mail, ensure that you've removed all the comments from the template.
  • Replace the template text (such as name) with your own details.


I hereby affirm that CHOOSE ONE: [I, (name here), am] OR [I represent (copyright holder's name), ] the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of CHOOSE ONE: [the media work] OR [the work depicted in the media] OR [both the work depicted and the media] CHOOSE ONE: [URLs of the content] OR [attached images/text].

I agree to publish the above-mentioned content under the free license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. (THIS IS THE STANDARD CHOICE; YOU MAY CHOOSE ANOTHER ACCEPTABLE FREE LICENSE, IF YOU WISH TO)

I acknowledge that by doing so I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product or otherwise, and to modify it according to their needs, provided that they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.

I am aware that this agreement is not limited to Wikipedia or related sites.

I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be claimed to have been made by me.

I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the content may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.

[Sender's name]
[Sender's authority (If applicable. E.g. "Copyright holder", "Director", "Appointed representative of", etc.)]


  • You must clearly identify the content that you're permitting us to use. Something like "I am creator of the images used on XYZ page" is NOT sufficient. You must provide exact URL link(s) to the content or attach the content with the e-mail. For images, we prefer that you upload them to Wikimedia Commons with the {{OTRS pending}} template, and provide the URLs of the uploaded images in your e-mail.
  • In the above example, the license granted is Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. You can choose another license from our list of free licenses, if you wish to. You MUST state a license; otherwise, this declaration is not valid. You must state the license's version, if applicable: CC-BY-SA 4.0 or Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 4.0 are acceptably specific, just stating Creative Commons license, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, or CC-BY-SA (without the version number) is not.
  • E-Mail the permission e-mails to our email response team ("OTRS") at The email you send must come from an email address that we can recognize. For instance, if you are releasing images from a website, your email address must be associated with the website or listed on the contact page of the website. If you are releasing images on behalf of an organization, your e-mail address must be an official address of the organization. If you are releasing a work that is not available online, you may be required to provide proof of your identity. If you are releasing a work where you are acting on the copyright holder's behalf, you may be required to provide proof of authorization to work on the copyright holder's behalf.

Templates to use on image pages

  • Users who have sent a permission to OTRS but haven't received confirmation yet can use {{subst:OP}} to tell others that it's in progress.
  • OTRS volunteers can use {{subst:OR|id=number or ticket=URL}} when the permission has been received but further clarification or communication is needed.
  • OTRS volunteers can use {{PermissionOTRS|id=number or ticket=URL}} when the permission has been accepted and archived in the Wikimedia OTRS system. This template should only used by OTRS volunteers. Unauthorized use will cause a AbuseFilter logentry and a warning will be shown.

See also

On Commons
On other projects