GLAM/Media rights and usage on Commons

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Wikimedia Commons is a Wikimedia's repository for free media content, i.e. photographs, videos, and recordings. Commons provides a media repository that:

  • Makes available public domain & freely licensed educational material for anyone to use.
Educational can broadly cover anything that provides knowledge, is instructional, or informative. Learn more about what media falls into the scope of Commons, here.

What can be included in Wikimedia Commons?[edit]

  • Must be a media file
  • Photographs, scanned images, diagrams, animations, audio (music, interviews), videos
  • Must be freely licensed or public domain
  • Must realistically be able to be used for an educational purpose.
  • No holiday photos, self-created art with no educational purpose, advertising, etc.
  • Learn more about what types of images are not hosted on Wikimedia Commons.

What does freely licensed mean?[edit]

People have the freedom to:

  • Use or modify the content
  • Distribute copies of the content
  • Distribute works derived from the content

Wikimedia Commons does not allow fair use media or non-free licenses. That means Wikimedia Commons cannot host copyrighted media, or media that can't be modified and cannot used for commercial use. These images will be deleted after they are uploaded. Aside from public domain content, Wikimedia Commons also accepts two other licenses, developed by Creative Commons:

  • - Creative Commons By Attribution; which means that anyone can modify, use, and distribute the content and its derivatives as long as attribution is given.
  • - Creative Commons Share-alike; is everything from the previous license, with the addition that if you make a derivative of this work, it has to be also released under the CC BY-SA license.

Does Wikimedia Commons monitor copyright violations?[edit]

Yes! Wikimedia Commons has a vast network of volunteers who monitor copyright violations. For example:

  • We delete media that is missing the correct licensing tag, such as public domain, CC BY, CC BY-SA. This content is often deleted within days of uploading.
  • We delete media if permission to use the image is not granted by the copyright holder after seven days. For example: We need permission from an artist or photographer if the user uploading it is not the creator. Letters are requested by Commons volunteers by the copyright holder, and without receiving that letter and confirming it, the image maybe deleted within seven days.

Learn more about how we determine potential copyright violations here.

What other organizations have contributed their media to Wikimedia Commons?[edit]

Over thirty cultural institutions (GLAMs) from around the world have chosen to contribute images from their collections to Wikimedia Commons. Including:

Can I upload fair use images to Wikipedia?[edit]

Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons are not the same project. Fair use of copyrighted images is only permitted on Wikipedia if:

  • No free equivalent of that media is available.
  • Is is only used in only one article.
  • Must be significant to the article; i.e. to show what someone who has died looked like, or what an artwork looked like.
Example: Alicia Dickerson Montemayor died in 1989, and the photograph of her was taken post-1923 (making it copyrighted, most likely). Therefore, the image was uploaded to Wikipedia, citing the source of the image, and the reasoning. See here for more information.

For more information see[edit]