Wikinews:Image use policy/New wikimedia policy action plan/FAQ

This FAQ is in the making. If you believe an answer is not clear or not correct, feel free to ask for clarification or make a change.

What are you people talking about?


foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy.

What is this "Board" and "Foundation"?
Why should I care what they resolve?


The Board of Trustees is responsible for running the Wikimedia Foundation, which foots the bills necessary to keep Wikimedia projects, including Wikinews, running. The Board has the power to direct the activities of the Foundation., including by passing resolutions.

How familiar is the board with Wikinews' workings?


One of the board members is Eloquence, who more-or-less founded Wikinews. Another, member, Mindspillage, occasionally edits on Wikinews. Jimbo Wales has been active in the past. Many Wikinews editors have also voted to elect the members to the board.

Have there been discussions about this resolution before? Where?


See also the Licensing policy FAQ draft

Why wasn't I told about this?


The board, for obvious reasons, doesn't spend all its time clicking on Special:Emailuser links on thousands of user pages on the projects and their many language editions. They discuss changes with the Wikimedia community in places like the mailing lists and at meta. Users from various projects who are aware of such discussions then inform other users on their projects on Water cooler, etc. On en.Wikinews, User:Bawolff posted a note about the upcoming changes on Template:Wn news on Feb 20, but Wikinewsies didn't take much notice until after the resolution was announced.

Why was this resolution needed?


See Licensing policy FAQ draft

What is "Free"?

Wikipedia has more about this subject:
short answer: material is free if it is released under a license that permits anyone
  • the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  • the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works
shorter (and long) answer, See [1].

Does this resolution forbid the use of fair-use media/local uploads?


No. See point #2 of the resolution.

Do we have to delete all non-free images?


No. The important part is that the resolution leaves the room for individual projects (such as English Wikinews) to formulate project-specific policy on what kind of non-free images the project accepts. The project-specific policy is called "EDP" or "Exemption Doctrine Policy."

Do we have an Exemption Doctrine Policy?


Yes. We've had one for a long time. Our EDP is Wikinews:Fair use, which has been policy since June 2005. The adoption of that policy was a necessary pre-requisite to local media upload facilities being enabled at Wikinews in the first place. In requiring that each project have an EDP, the Wikimedia Foundation resolution is not imposing a new requirement. This was the same requirement that Wikinews had to meet back in 2005.

So what changes do we have to make?


Compared to some projects, we don't have to do much at all.

  • The resolution requires an EDP. Wikinews has had an EDP since June 2005.
  • The resolution requires that the EDP be minimal, and not enable the use of non-free content where free content is a reasonable alternative. We must ensure that our Wikinews:Fair use policy is in line with that.
  • The resolution requires that all non-free content be explicitly labelled with a rationale that explains how its use at Wikinews is within the scope of fair use. We must therefore ensure that all existing non-free content be suitably labelled, and ensure that all newly uploaded non-free content be uploaded with a rationale.

So the primary impact of this is on non-free images?


Yes. We must ensure that from March 23, 2007 onwards, we delete any newly uploaded non-free media that are not accompanied by a fair use rationale, and ensure that we have clear mechanisms in place for adding fair use rationales and good help pages to aid uploaders in adding fair use rationales. Furthermore, we have 1 year to deal with the backlog of already uploaded non-free images, ensuring that either they have a fair use rationale added to them or they are deleted.

Free-content images are unaffected by this resolution. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Wikimedia Commons.

Does this mean that we have to delete all non-free images?


No. It means that we must delete those non-free images that we cannot provide a proper fair use rationale for. As the resolution states, any non-free images that we don't already have a fair use rationale for should go through a discussive process where we attempt to find a fair use rationale and delete the image if we cannot find one. We have 1 year to do that.

But we may not modify old stories. That's against policy.


Incorrect. If the old stories used non-free images in a way that cannot be justified under a fair use rationale, then those stories were not in accordance with our fundamental policy in the first place. Also note that we may modify old stories. Our archive conventions do not override our copyright policy. We can, and must, modify old stories if they violate copyright. A non-free image that is used in a way that is not justifiable as fair use is a violation of copyright.

What categories of non-free images do we have?


See the Wikinews:Fair use#Fair use whitelist. You can find the actual categories corresponding to the whitelist entries at Category:Publicity photos, Category:Crown copyright image, Category:IRIN, Category:Logos, Category:Screen shots, and of course Category:Breaking news images.

We must check our fair use policy to ensure that those whitelisted categories are not excessively broad, and we must ensure that at the very least the image copyright tags corresponding to those categories make explicit fair use statements (although such statements do not eliminate that requirement for a specific fair use rationale for each use of a non-free image).

We must also review Category:Breaking news images. Per our long-standing policy, no image there should be used outside of a breaking story. We have several archived stories that are in violation of our policy in this regard.

We seem to have some other categories as well, though.


Yes, we also have Category:CC-BY-ND-2.5, Category:CC-BY-ND-2.0, and Category:Non-commercial. Those non-free images are not in the classes listed on our fair use whitelist, and have never been allowable under our Wikinews:Fair use policy. All of those images must be examined, and their use here brought into accordance with our existing, and long standing, policy. That can be done by providing a fair use rationale (which is not valid for user-contributed images, or usage which dominates an article), or by relicensing the image under a free-content copyright licence.

Similarly, we have Category:Currency images and Category:Fair use TIME Person of the Year covers. We must consider whether these should be added to our fair use whitelist.

But the CC-BY-ND licences are free content licences, aren't they?


No, only two of the Creative Commons licenses are considered to be free content copyright licences, and they are not the aforementioned ones. Some organizations don't even consider those two to be free content licences. See the Wikipedia article for details.

What about Grant of licence? Those non-free CC categories were covered by Grant of licence.


The idea that people can grant non-free copyright licences to Wikimedia Foundation projects, by uploading content that is "licenced for use on this project only", "licenced only for non-commercial use", or "licenced for use without permission to create derived works", is in part what caused this Board resolution in the first place. Such content is not compatible with the goal of Wikimedia Foundation projects. We need to review all images in the aforementioned categories and in Category:Gol image and deal with them by relicensing the images under free-content copyright licences, providing fair use rationales that justify the use of that non-free content, or deleting the images.

Note that the incompatibility between grant of licence and what the Board originally allowed for Wikinews when local upload was enabled in the first place was pointed out on Wikinews talk:Image use policy back in July 2005. Grant of licence was never permitted as an exception to the free content policy.

But I uploaded content of my own under a non-free licence! I want to retain that material.


The Wikimedia Foundation projects have always and explicitly been about creating free content resources. Free content has always been one of the Foundation goals. You can find it at point #4 on the list of Foundation issues and also in the the Foundation's Mission statement and even in the Wikinews:Mission statement. We are sorry that you thought otherwise, but that has never been the case. If you want to retain your content, you can choose to relicense it under a free content copyright licence.


Then your content is unacceptable at Wikimedia Foundation projects, and your goals are not the same as ours. Our goals are to create free content. Your goal is to create proprietary content.

I'm not being proprietary! I just want to stop people modifying my work and using it anywhere but in Wikinews.


That is exactly how you are being prioprietary. Free content can be modified and freely re-used by others. Prohibitions on derived works and prohibitions on the copying of content elsewhere make things non-free. You are wanting to prevent other people having the very freedoms that free content is intended to give to them.

It should be noted that many distortions and parodies cannot be prevented by law (as fair use explicitly allows for parody); it is the useful and beneficial modifications that are most likely to be affected. In the case of images covered by CC-BY-ND, those are primarily: overlaying of text; usage of the image in a video (usage in articles is permitted); cropping, transformations such as color, blur, sharpness and contrast; animation; vectorization, and so forth. There are plenty of educational and useful scenarios that are affected by preventing derivatives, while the main thing you may want to prevent (political parody and distortion), cannot be legally done, as the right to satirize content is considered especially important in copyright law.

Furthermore, distortions that are explicit attacks on your character are already covered by existing law on libel and slander. You do not need copyright law to prevent them.

Finally, one should consider that in addition to any legal tools that exist to deal with undesired behavior, there are social mechanisms, such as ostracizing those whose actions you disapprove of, or publicly shaming them. You will always be able to use these tools. A copyright license that prohibits building upon your work, on the other hand, prevents many beneficial uses and causes friction by default. This is why it is considered non-free, and unacceptable.