Image copyright tags

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]



Images on WikiDoc must be tagged to help adhere to copyright laws and identify free material for use. Since the servers are located in the USA, only US law needs to be taken into consideration whenever national law is relevant.

For general Rules of Thumb on uploading images, see Wikidoc:Image use policy.

Here are some image tagging guidelines:

  • Please tag images on the image description page with one of the tags below so we can keep track of its status. For information on where to put the tags in the image description page, see Template messages. The tags should be put on a line of their own.
  • When marking an image as one of the more vague categories (such as CopyrightedFreeUse), try to specify somewhere what the actual license or other permission states.
  • If you tag an image as requiring attribution, please specify who needs to be attributed! Note that the GFDL requires attribution.
  • If multiple categories apply to an image, add all that apply.
  • Along with a tag, specify the source or copyright holder information. Provide as much detail as possible.
  • Please put more thought to the file naming of images as well.
  • Wikimedia Commons does not allow fair use material but such images can still be used here. Fair use applies in some countries but not in others. Many images including fair use ones need to be kept out of a coming Mandriva Linux (formerly Mandrakelinux) distribution (see m:Wikimedia and Mandrakesoft).
  • To help provide image tags in WikiDoc, see WikiDoc:Untagged images.
  • Finally, scroll down to see the whole set of tagging options.

Tagging options

For image creators

If you are the photographer, designer, or otherwise the creator of an original work, you don't need to sort through this whole list. Ideally, we would like you to license your work under a "free" license—with as few restrictions as possible. The licenses in this section are designed not so much to restrict use of your work, but to keep it free. Some people group these under the generic term copyleft.

Each license takes the form of a template, a short snippet of text that causes a license box to be displayed under your image. Copy the whole thing, including the {{double braces}}, and paste it in along with your description when you upload your work. You can also use the new drop-down menu.

  • {{cc-by-sa-2.5}}—Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike. This is one of several CC licenses. This version permits free use, including commercial use; requires that you be attributed as the creator; and requires that any derivative creator or redistributor of your work use the same license.
  • {{pd-self}}—Public Domain. There is some question whether it is possible under existing law to release one's work into the public domain; but this is still the "license" of choice for some.

Note that many creators license their works under more than one of these free licenses. There is no limit to the number of license tags you may apply—although some may contradict one another.

There are many other licenses you may choose to grant to your own work; please see below. Please remember that our intent is not to add a burden to you; we appreciate your willingness to allow your work to be published. For legal purposes, we do need a legal license.

If you have any questions or need any help, please feel free to ask any member of this Project. Here is a list of members who have volunteered to help do this vital work.

Public domain

Remember that most images you find on the Web are not public domain, even if they list no explicit copyright information. Images only qualify as being in the public domain if they fall under certain specific categories described below — very old works, works by certain government employees, and works where an explicit disclaimer of copyright has been made in writing by the author.

For a simple chart on US Public Domain regulations (WikiDoc servers are located in the US and fall under US guidelines) see the chart here.

Presumed free images

  • {{GFDL-presumed}} These are images that have been unverified to be free of copyright issues, but some user in good faith believes to have been created by the uploader and hence are mostly public domain or GFDL, i.e. redistributable under the GFDL. This is especially useful for images uploaded until mid-2004, at a time when uploaders weren't warned to add image copyright tags. In the early years of Wikipedia all images were presumed to be GFDL-compatible unless found to be otherwise (and deleted, usually), and most images were hence not tagged with their copyright status.

Tags for deprecated images

Unfree images

These tags are used to mark images that are deprecated, and which will eventually be deleted.

On September 20, 2004, Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images began accepting listings for images used in Wikipedia that either do not have a license or are currently listed with a non-free license. In mid 2005 however images lacking source and/or license information became a criterion for speedy deletion, and subsequently the PUI process was amended to deal with cases of disputed copyright status and non-free images instead.

The following tags are for use on such images. Though these images are unwanted, they should not be deleted immediately but proceed to be slowly and respectfully weeded out.

  • {{PUIdisputed}}—used for images where the stated copyright status is disputed. If the status can not be resolved the image is usually deleted after beeing listed for 14 days.
  • {{PUInonfree}}—used for images with a noted non-free license. If an alternative license is not found, these images will be deleted after 14 days.

In both cases {{idw-pui|Image:ImageName.jpg}} should be added to the uploaders talk page, {{unverifiedimage}} should be put into the caption of the image where it is used, and the image should then be listed on the Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images page so the image can be properly processed.

Copyright violations

This tag is used to mark images which violate copyright, and which will quickly be deleted.

Bad images

These tags are used to mark images which are deprecated, and which will eventually be deleted.

  • {{Missing image}}—for images that cannot be deleted using the standard deletion procedure due to bugs in the MediaWiki software. Generally, these images have to be manually deleted by a developer.

Creating new tags or sub-category

If you are uploading a relatively large collection of images, you should consider creating a new tag and sub-category for them. Before doing so, please propose the tag on Wikipedia talk:Image copyright tags first. Many new tags are quickly deleted because they are overly vague or overly specific, redundant, or are for images of dubious copyright or licencing status. Discussing the tag before creating it ensures that these pitfalls are avoided.

If you are not familiar with how to create templates which add images to categories, please ask for assistance before attempting, in order to save the time and effort which results from needing to fix incorrectly created tags. Be sure to add Category:Image copyright tags to the template by adding the following at the bottom:

<noinclude>[[Category:Image copyright tags|{{PAGENAME}}]]</noinclude>

Image template notice

Each copyright tag such as {{Fairuse}} should correspond to a Category. Placing such a tag on an image will automatically put it into that category, because that template should already belong to that category. Using {{Fairuse}} as an example, each of such category should have a notice by using the tag {{Image template notice|Fairuse}} of the template Template:Image template notice


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