|This page in a nutshell: Be very careful when uploading |
For information on media in general (images, sound files, etc.), see
Before you upload an image, make sure that the image falls in one of the four categories:
Wikipedia encourages users to upload their own images. All user-created images must be licensed under a free license, such as the
Such images can include photographs which you yourself took. The legal rights for images generally lie with the photographer, not the subject. Simply re-tracing a copyrighted image or
Photographs of two-dimensional objects such as paintings in a museum often do not create a new copyright (see the section on the public domain below), as, within the United States, these are considered "slavish copies" without any creativity (see
Photographs of three-dimensional objects almost always generate a new copyright, though others may continue to hold copyright in items depicted in such photographs. Whether the photo carries the copyright of the object photographed depends on numerous factors. For three-dimensional art and architecture such as buildings in public spaces, each country has unique
Images with you, friends or family prominently featured in a way that distracts from the image topic are not recommended for the main namespace. These images are considered self-promotion and the Wikipedia community has repeatedly reached consensus to delete such images. Using such images on user pages is allowed.
Some images may contain
User-made images can also include the recreation of graphs, charts, drawings, and maps directly from available data, as long as the user-created format does not mimic the exact style of the original work.
Additionally, user-made images may be wholly original. In such cases, the image should be primarily serving an educational purpose, and not as a means of self-promotion of the user's artistic skills. The subject to be illustrated should be clearly identifyable in context, and should not be overly stylized. See for example
There are several licenses that meet the definition of "free" here. Several
A list of websites that offer free images can be found at
Public domain images are not copyrighted, and copyright law does not restrict their use in any way. Wikipedia pages, including non-English language pages, are hosted on a server in the United States, so U.S. law governs whether a Wikipedia image is in the public domain.
Images may be placed into the public domain by their creators, or they may be public domain because they are ineligible for copyright or because their copyright expired.
In the U.S., reproductions of two-dimensional public domain artwork do not generate a new copyright; see
Works must usually entail a minimum amount of creativity to be copyrightable. Those that fail to meet this
If you strongly suspect an image is a copyright infringement, you should list it for deletion; see Deleting images below. For example, an image with no copyright status on its
Some usage of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright holder can qualify as
Use of copyrighted material under an invalid claim of a non-free rationale constitutes
Free images should not be
When taking pictures of identifiable people, the subject's consent is not usually needed for straightforward photographs taken in a public place, but is often needed for photographs taken in a private place. This type of consent is sometimes called a
Because of the
Bear in mind that
For the purposes of this policy, a private place is a place where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, while a public place is a place where people have no such expectation.
There are a variety of non-copyright laws which may affect the photographer, the uploader and/or the Wikimedia Foundation, including
Defamation may arise not only from the content of the image itself but also from its description and title when uploaded. An image of an identified unknown individual may be unexceptional on its own, but with the title "A drug-dealer" there may be potential defamation issues in at least some countries.
Another factor to consider is the established reliability and past respect for copyright of the source of publication of a photo. Some tabloid newspapers and magazines have had legal issues with respect of original copyright for sake of getting their stories out, and images from such sources may be problematic to use on Wikipedia for both legal and moral reasons.
Not all legally obtained photographs of individuals are acceptable. The following types of image are normally considered unacceptable:
These are categories which are matters of common decency rather than law. They find a reflection in the wording of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation".
The extent to which a particular photograph is "unfair" or "intrusive" will depend on the nature of the shot, whether it was taken in a public or private place, the title/description, and on the type of subject (e.g. a celebrity, a non-famous person, etc.). This is all a matter of degree. A secretly taken shot of a celebrity caught in an embarrassing position in a public place may well be acceptable to the community; a similar shot of an anonymous member of the public may or may not be acceptable, depending on what is shown and how it is presented.
If an image requires consent, but consent cannot be obtained, there are several options. For example, identifying features can be blurred, pixelated, or obscured so that the person is no longer identifiable. Also, the picture may be re-taken at a different angle, perhaps so that the subject's face is not visible.