GLAM/Get started/GLAM Commons FAQ

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GLAM Commons FAQ[edit]

Wikipedia contains pictures from my institution's website, why won't you delete them when we asked?[edit]

If the images or other multimedia items are out of copyright ("in the Public domain" or PD) then they are legally allowed to be copied and redistributed by anyone even if it is the policy of your institution for people to ask permission before use. We understand that this may be confronting; we do not mean to cause offense. Many institutions do not allow photography of their works by the public and this is legally permissible because those works are the institution's physical property. However, this right does not extend to copies of public domain works as there is not right over copies – no "copy-rights". Attempting to claim rights over copies when copyright has expired is called copyfraud. Therefore, if there is a copy of a photo from your institution's collection that is in the public domain on Wikipedia then we are under no obligation to delete it. If the original object is still in copyright then please contact us and we will delete it immediately. See copyright violations for details. Wikipedia also applies the decision of the US court in w:Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., by which photographs of two-dimensional objects which are themselves out of copyright cannot be copyrighted under US law, though under most other legal systems they can be. This is the core of the issue with the National Portrait Gallery in London. See Non-free content, Public domain and Image copyright tags

Wikipedia contains pictures from my institution that are poorly cited/references/attributed, can I fix them?[edit]

Yes, please do, initially in the picture file (click on the picture, and if there is a link to Commons, follow that for the main file).

Why does Wikipedia have some images that are definitely still in copyright?[edit]

All media files require a copyright status statement. In some cases, low-resolution images may be used without permission under the "fair use" copyright exception in United States law. This is applicable because Wikipedia is hosted in the US. This means that, when no freely available alternative exists, Wikipedia may include a low-resolution version in extremely limited circumstances. To claim this exemption the image must be uploaded directly to Wikipedia rather than Wikimedia Commons. There may also be a question of "freedom of panorama", covering photographs taken in public spaces (variously defined), where the relevant law is that of the jurisdiction where the photograph was taken.

If I release material under a license applicable to Wikipedia does that mean that my institution can no longer sell that material?[edit]

You may continue to sell products with material that you have released. However, once it is released, others may incorporate it into their own commercial products as well. Releasing content to be used on Wikipedia does not hinder your ability to use it in whichever way you choose. What it does is allow other people to use it too.