Media copyright questions

Welcome to the Media Copyright Questions page, a place for help with image copyrights, tagging, non-free content, and related questions. For all other questions please see Wikipedia:Questions.

How to add a copyright tag to an existing image
  1. On the description page of the image (the one whose name starts File:), click Edit this page.
  2. From the page Wikipedia:File copyright tags, choose the appropriate tag:
    • For work you created yourself, use one of the ones listed under the heading "For image creators".
    • For a work downloaded from the internet, please understand that the vast majority of images from the internet are not appropriate for use on Wikipedia. Exceptions include images from flickr that have an acceptable license, images that are in the public domain because of their age or because they were created by the United States federal government, or images used under a claim of fair use. If you do not know what you are doing, please post a link to the image here and ask BEFORE uploading it.
    • For an image created by someone else who has licensed their image under an acceptable Creative Commons or other free license, or has released their image into the public domain, this permission must be documented. Please see Requesting copyright permission for more information.
  3. Type the name of the tag (e.g.; ((Cc-by-4.0))), not forgetting (( before and )) after, in the edit box on the image's description page.
  4. Remove any existing tag complaining that the image has no tag (for example, ((untagged)))
  5. Hit Publish changes.
  6. If you still have questions, go on to "How to ask a question" below.
How to ask a question
  1. To ask a new question hit the "Click here to start a new discussion" link below.
  2. Please sign your question by typing ~~~~ at the end.
  3. Check this page for updates, or request to be notified on your talk page.
  4. Don't include your email address, for your own privacy. We will respond here and cannot respond by email.
Note for those replying to posted questions

If a question clearly does not belong on this page, reply to it using the template ((mcq-wrong)) and, if possible, leave a note on the poster's talk page. For copyright issues relevant to Commons where questions arising cannot be answered locally, questions may be directed to Commons:Commons:Village pump/Copyright.

Click here to purge this page
(For help, see Wikipedia:Purge)

Graphics Lab request[edit]

I edited an image made by a wiki-user for a graphics lab request but am unsure what copyright tag should be used. I don't think it counts as my own work as I've only made a minor edit to someone elses content. Anyone know what tag should be used? (for context its Diocese of Blackburn request Clubspike2 (talk) 09:45, 17 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Clubspike2: the original version File:Diocese_of_Blackburn_arms.svg has been released in the public domain by its creator. That means you can do anything you please with it and nobody can sue you for copyright violations. In particular, you have produced a modified version (File:Diocese_of_Blackburn_arms_updated.svg) which you released as public domain; that is certainly allowed.
The only question would be: if you had tagged your modified version as CC-BY-SA (or any other license), and someone else used it in a license-violating manner, would you be able to sue that person for copyright violation? (As you agreed with a release in the public domain, that’s a an academic question anyway, but here goes.) Arguably, your change makes no significant difference, hence it does not meet the threshold of originality and you have no copyright claim in the result. TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 15:29, 17 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Given that we are here already, there might be an issue with the rose taken from File:FlagOfLancashire.svg.
This image has been taken from the Friends of Real Lancashire and is licensed on Commons with a share-alike license. If this license were valid, the public domain dedication would be illegitimate since it would not comply with the share-alike requirements of the rose design. However, I can't find a basis for the license on the FORL webpage, [1], whose web graphics page merely says that the images are "free to be used on your website". Felix QW (talk) 17:33, 17 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good catch. seems to be an active Twitter account - maybe someone could ask them to put the flag as PD or CC-BY-SA? TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 15:34, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have asked the following at their website’s "contact us" page
email text
I am an editor on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I have a question regarding the copyright status of the flag of Lancashire. The page says that "These images [including the flag] have been produced by the Friends Of Real Lancashire and can be used freely on your own website".
However, that language is probably not sufficient to allow the flag to be used in so-called "derivative works". For instance, one Wikipedia editor created a coat of arms for the diocese of Blackburn ( As it stands, that useful image is a copyright violation and could be deleted.
Would you agree to release the flag (and maybe other images) under a more standard permissive licenses? If so, I would suggest to choose between either "public domain" or "CC BY-SA".
"Public domain" means that there is no restriction at all on the use of the flag (same status as the Union Jack).
"CC BY-SA" means "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike". That standard license requires reusers to (A) attribute the source of the content in any reasonable manner you specify (for instance, a link to a page of the FORL website), without implying you endorse their use; and (B) share any derivative works under the same license.
The simplest way to do that is by a public statement: you could alter the text of your website to read "the flag of Lancashire (can be used under the CC BY-SA license / is public domain)", or have the Twitter account @FORLancashire post a similar statement. Alternatively, there is an email procedure (via; it is private but it takes a bit longer (roughly 10 minutes).
You can find more details about why such a statement would be required at .
Thanks for your time,
All the best,
We shall see if they answer. TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 17:37, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you very much for taking the time to email them! Felix QW (talk) 19:41, 20 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it’s been a week and a half, the Twitter account has been active, and I did not get any reply. Sadly, I am going to nominate the file for deletion. TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 10:26, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Textbook piracy[edit]

Hi I ran across an article that contained links to a pirated copy of a commonly used textbook that is still in publication. I have deleted the link. Are there other steps I need to take? Should I worry about it appearing in the articles history? Thenub314 (talk) 20:23, 23 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If the text book content is copied into the article, then the history may be cleaned up. If the link is just in one revision then that too could be removed But don't worry about a link if others have edited it with the link in. Just delete it from the current and future versions. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:56, 24 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Thenub314: the link you removed is also linked from a handful of other pages. Looks like amobbs is site used for file-sharing. All links to that site. DMacks (talk) 11:49, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sigh, thanks, I will take a look through them. Thenub314 (talk) 21:49, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One of Enterprise Records logos[edit]

I previously uploaded a now-deleted image containing a rainbow crescent logo representing Enterprise Records (45cat, ebay), part of Stax Records. I thought about having it undeleted and then re-nominated for discussion, but then I'd be going around circles without taking this first. I wonder about its eligibility for US copyright. George Ho (talk) 02:20, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The logo could well be public domain in US. The wordmark for "enterprise" would certainly be. But the whole record image is really too much for public domain. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:27, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But the whole record image is really too much for public domain. I respectfully disagree. As I can see, the whole info about the product itself is too factual, the font is very basic, and even the song title alone isn't original enough for copyright. Furthermore, the background is very plain, solid, and simple, not complex. Why do you think otherwise? I hope you're right about the logo, nonetheless. George Ho (talk) 21:22, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If that doesn't convince you enough, then one of past Commons DR discussions would. Similar issue; the result there was "kept". George Ho (talk) 21:53, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well that convinced me even less, as you voted in it, as I know you like to say images of records are public domain. That commons file should be deleted. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:42, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you think it should be deleted, then please re-nominate that file if you will. I'll stand by my vote, anyways. George Ho (talk) 23:06, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Almost forgot: How about one of FFD discussions, which resulted in transfer to Commons without opposition? George Ho (talk) 23:11, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Grigoriy Davydovich "G.D." Plaskov[edit]

I am looking to upload a photo of Soviet General Grigoriy Plaskov to his page, but all photos in existence of him are not in the public domain. Can I do this by using fair use rationale, and if so, how would I do this? TheUnabashedUkrainian (talk) 19:36, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since he has been dead for over 40 years, an image could well be used under fair use. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:28, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TheUnabashedUkrainian, pick a good one, go to Wikipedia:File upload wizard, choose: Upload a non-free file > This is a copyrighted, non-free work, but I believe it is Fair Use. > This is a historical portrait of a person no longer alive. Don't worry about resolution, a bot will come along and fix that. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 14:11, 3 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you so much! I found one and uploaded it, and now the article looks much better. TheUnabashedUkrainian (talk) 17:08, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can I add arrows and letters to a non-free image? (Crown copyright, not OGL)[edit]

Can I add arrows and letters to a non-free image so I can describe in the caption what the picture shows? Specifically, it is a debris field from an aircraft accident, and the location of certain parts and ground marks are important to a full understanding of what happened. (The article is about the plane crash, not the image.) I think that would improve the article. Is there a rule against altering a non-free work, or making a derivative work of it? (I'm not sure I fully understand the difference.) Or are the derivatives and alterations simply another form of non-free material? Thanks! Dcs002 (talk) 09:39, 4 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would believe that adding very simple shapes to a non-free would not be considered a derivative work, but you should be clear in uploading and providing the rationale that points to the source of the original image and its copyright, and that the markups are yours. But I would see if you can do this without markup - can you say "in the upper right of this image" (for example) before trying to do markup
A different concern is that if you are adding these marks to an accident picture to try to point out things not picked out by other sources, this is original research and not appropriate for WP. Masem (t) 18:53, 4 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks so much. The details are too small to be located by text. (For your info, the image in question is here.) They are small details in a large field. The details are specifically pointed out in an enlarged close-up of the debris field within the original source report, but that image (also non-free, same Crown copyright source) does not contain the whole crash sequence, as this non-free image does. This is a wider view than the one with the details marked in close-up. The fact that the uploaded non-free image contains the whole crash sequence and also the locations of certain important aspects (e.g., resting place of the main landing gear, ground marks of the initial impacts of engines, landing gear, etc.) was part of the justification for using the non-free image, so I think it's important to have some means of pointing those details out. That's where this question is coming from. Dcs002 (talk) 11:38, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uploading a map from a legal case[edit]

I am trying to upload a map from a judgment from 1989 by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and am unable to do so. My previous one was deleted for copyright reasons; I have tried to navigate around to figure out what copyright this may fall under to try to get it back but I have had no success and I am honestly getting quite frustrated. How would I go about attempting to rectify this, or is it even worth the effort? ATireOnFire (talk) 16:21, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What makes you think a publication by the Province of Ontario is not copyrighted? I know U.S. states are all over the map [excuse the pun] on this, but don't know much about the provinces. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:29, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is where my frustration comes from--I can't find anything beyond this, which says that Ontario court cases are copyrighted by the province but that decisions and reasons can be reproduced without permission. Is a map a "reason" for a decision? It surely isn't a decision. I could see a map being part of how a tribunal reaches a decision but I can't find any specific reference to mapping or images in court or government decisions.
Appreciate the answer! ATireOnFire (talk) 16:36, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it was pulled from the Ontario court system, then the entire decision is copyrighted.
A question to ask if you can recreate the map without too much difficulty? Using the court decision as the reference, as long as they are showing factual aspects (like, locations of events documented in the case), and not creative elements. Masem (t) 16:54, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, I hadn't considered making it myself! I could certainly do that with reference to the original. Would that then be sufficient to make it my own and thus usable? ATireOnFire (talk) 17:02, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it's a large, street scale map, consider starting with - like the Wikipedia of maps! Dcs002 (talk) 07:50, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Play sets[edit]

What are the rules around copyright/FoP for play sets in the U.S.? Would I be justified in uploading a photo of w:Shear Madness, even though the set is copyrighted? ((u|Sdkb))talk 05:39, 6 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

File:Daniel Logan (DALO).jpg[edit]

I believe the uploader does not have proper permission to use this image File:Daniel Logan (DALO).jpg based on their comments about the source of the image here Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Daniel Logan (DALO). I have no experience in this area, so I bring it here.  // Timothy :: talk  12:55, 8 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The image is listed at Files for discussion so the determination of what to do will happen there. There isn't a need to open a second discussion outside the FFD. -- Whpq (talk) 13:41, 8 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The AFD won't deal with any issues with the image. You're going to have to nominate it for deletion at Commons as the image was uploaded there. Linking to the AFD where the admission that the uploader didn't have the appropriate permission will help though. Nthep (talk) 15:24, 8 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why did the bot do this? What makes this one campaign logo different from any of the other campaign logos used on this page and across Wikipedia? BottleOfChocolateMilk (talk) 22:19, 12 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi BottleOfChocolateMilk. Actually, there's really no strong encyclopedic reason to use any of those campaign logos in that particular article, and I've gone and removed them. However, the reason the bot removed the one you're asking about has to do with it being licensed as non-free content. Even though all files may seem to the same when you see them being used in articles, they're often licensed differently and it's a file's licensing that determines how it can be used on Wikipedia. Non-free files are required to comply with Wikipedia's non-free content use policy and there are ten criteria that each use of a non-free file needs to satisfy. The bot removed the file you're asking about because it's use didn't comply with non-free content use criterion #10c; this is why the bot included a link to WP:NFC#Implementation in the edit summary it left when it removed the file. Each time a non-free file is used, a separate, specific non-free use rationale needs to be added to the file's page explaining how the relevant use meets Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. The bot that removed file has been tasked with finding non-free files lacking such rationales and then removing them from articles. When the file File:Logo John Wood For Mayor.JPG was uploaded, the uploader provided it with a non-free use rationale, but didn't specify where the file was going to be used: they mistakenly added "n/a" to the |article= parameter instead of the name of an article. Since the bot checking on this file was not able to interpret this as being for the article 2023_Philadelphia_mayoral_election, it removed the file. However, even fixing that error most likely wouldn't enough the justify the file's non-free use in that article since the use of non-free content in tables like the one in that article is considered to be WP:DECORATIVE for the most part and it almost never allowed per WP:NFTABLES, WP:NFLIST, WP:NFC#CS and MOS:LOGO. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:04, 13 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]