Wikinews talk:Fair use

Latest comment: 12 years ago by Brian McNeil in topic Copyedit


As mentionned on the foundation mailing list, this policy seems very reasonable to me. I am happy you found a solution to be able to upload images necessary to illustrate wikinews articles... all while limiting related risks with competitors. Good luck. Anthere 02:44, 15 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Other fair use categories


Could music album and book cover images be considered as fair use?
Another case that could be safely be considered fair use is when a site has it's own statement about fair use, for instance:

«Fair use of copyrighted material includes the use of protected Material(s) for limited, purely non-commercial education purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary and news reporting.» (quoted from [1]).

--Ascánder 14:51, 15 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

It depends on the source of the images, I suppose. Publishers usually make available book covers for press and retailers as part of their press kits. In this case they are covered as publicity shots. I am unsure about album covers; I don't know if the recording industries regularly make them available as part of the press kits. - Amgine/talk 14:59, 15 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

I'm not a 100% sure if this is publicity.


I copied image:DonBrash.png from wikipedia, and i think its would fall under publicity, but i'm not 100% sure. Could someone please tell me if it is, so I know for sure. thanks. Bawolff 23:08, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Looks like Publicity to me. -- NGerda 23:17, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply



Currency is listed as a dropdown choice. Its not listed here. What gives? Bawolff ☺☻  20:54, 27 November 2005 (UTC)Reply

Currency? that shouldn't be a listed licensure... <looks> - Amgine | talk 22:20, 27 November 2005 (UTC)Reply



What exactly does "state a fair use rationale" in the image mean? DragonFire1024 08:07, 5 April 2007 (UTC)Reply



I have created a shortcut WN:EDP which is redirected to this page. The terminology brings us inline with foundation terminology and therefore should also be listed in the shortcuts at the top of the page - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 06:52, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply

Flaw in EDP


If the Fair use policy/EDP was left the way it was, it could allow people to delete images and other multimedia content on archived pages, coming march 23, 2008. I understand there have been some complaints about that? :-)

Anyway, I don't think that this was an intended consequence, so I've added some language to mitigate the problem.

Feel free to integrate the alterations in a more wikinews-like manner. Be careful of simply reverting or removing them though, please discuss first!

See also: licensing policy (previously unsigned by User:Kim Bruning)

I'm afraid I strongly disagree that we can use archiving as a defence against images being against policy and copyright laws. It's important to note that any policy allowing the use of unfree image is based upon fair use being a defence "against accusations of copyright infringement". In print media can't change what they've published, we can, regardless of whether it has been archived. For this reason, it is technically possible for us to remove images which are against policy and infringe copyright so therefore we cannot legally defend keeping the images on archived articles. Adambro 20:56, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Adam, I have to disagree with you here. We have a publish window and the EDP should be applied within that. Beyond that lie dragons. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:07, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Adambro, does this mean that (according to you) maintaining online archives is an impossibility? --Kim Bruning 21:26, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
RE: Adambro: One, there is nothing on WN, or should not be, that violates copyright infringement. Our policy states that our archive is of a "historical" reference. I believe it is per WN:NOT. This policy was enacted long before my time on WN, or the image resolution. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 21:30, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
A few points, not favoring either position overall: Actual copyright infringement should be removed even if in the archives. However, it isn't clear to me why that concern would apply if we have a decent fair use argument for using an image. In those cases, it might make sense to leave it in the archive. We should keep in mind that what we consider acceptable fair use is in general stricter than what is in fact legally fair use. So as long as we have some fair use claim it isn't clear why we should take it out of the archive as long as no one has complained. The only counterargument is that the Foundation has said to minimize fair use and in any event once a picture is in the archive it isn't doing much. I'm also not terribly concerned that picture removal makes our archives not reflect what the articles looked like because the articles will be essentially identical except for images that were there will be not be. It isn't that uncommon for print when they upload old articles to be kept in archives to not include pictures. As far as I'm aware the New York Times hasn't included most of its images accompanying articles in their online archives. JoshuaZ 21:33, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
We don't strive to be the Times, or BBC, or whoever else. We strive to be different and unique. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 21:36, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
I believe that we should have the current stories have this apply to it, but old (archived) stories should have the policies that were in force at their time of publish apply to them (unless there is leagl reasons/ actual copyright infringement) . Unfortunately, or at least last time I read the foundations licensing resolution, that is not allowed acording to the foundation. Bawolff 21:41, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
As far as I'm aware, a lot of leeway is permitted in the EDP (I asked Erik and Kat lots of questions when they wrote the licensing policy :-) ). Obviously true copyright violations are impossible, but otherwise if Wikinews would like to retain archives, and doesn't want to retroactively alter them, then that's a very defensible position. I'm pretty sure we can defend that position towards the board, if they were to want to ask questions about that. --Kim Bruning 22:21, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
I think if we, as the Wikinews community, are going to ignore a board resolution then it would be wise of us to a least inform them of this. I personally feel this is unacceptable and I suspect the board will agree, the idea of the resolution is in part to protect the WMF from legal accusations and Wikinews as a WMF has to respect this aim. Ultimately, the question the board will want to answer is would our claim that we can't remove an image with an invalid fair use claim simply because an article has been archived satisfy a potential copyright holder and stop them from accusing the WMF of copyright infringement.
"We strive to be different and unique", indeed we do, in that we are trying to create a freely licenced impartial news source. A key element of this is trying to use freely licensed images wherever possible and not using copyrighted materials where there is a poor justification, in this sense the board resolution completely complies with our aims.
I'm keen to hear the board's view on this issue and will look into what avenues are available to raise this with them. Adambro 23:02, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
I'd highlight the text at the top of the resolution which states, "The content of this page is an official policy approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. This policy may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored on local Wikimedia projects." Adambro 23:04, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply

I am no lawyer. And never will want to be one. My position on the current matter would be very logical and straightforward

  1. We should strive to keep archives unaltered as much as possible
  2. As a hosting provider, the WMF has to remove any illegal content from its servers in case it is informed of its presence. If we are informed of the presence of an invalid fair use claim, we should remove it. Even if it means altering an archive
  3. If the archive is altered, the image (for example) removed should be replaced by a "blank" image indicating that the original image had to be removed for xx reason.

Anthere 23:32, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for stating this in a reasonable and sane manner, I find no fault with your reasoning Anthere. Nobody wants to violate copyright or have our archiving policy attempt to trump legal obligations. We just want recognition that because we are a news source a picture may be fair use for the time the story using it appeared on the front page and not have that fair use rescinded 10 years down the line because someone gets a more free picture. I'm sure you appreciate that a picture that is not relatively current for the article could be quite misleading. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:44, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Is anyone opposed to Brian McNeil's position? --Kim Bruning 16:42, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Remembering back to when the board first announced their policy, that was the general opinion among wikinewsie I belive. Bawolff 23:33, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Adambro, are you in accord with Bawolff and Brian McNeil? Can we proceed to work on an exception for archives in the EDP, taking into account the limitations mentioned by all of the above? --Kim Bruning 21:50, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Per the comments from Anthere, I don't believe we should or can legally include any exemption in our EDP that prevents images with invalid fair use claims from being removed from archived articles. The only change that I feel might be worthwhile making to the EDP is to clarify that when use of an image is claimed as fair use it must be expected that the rationale will continue to be valid in the future. If in the rush to illustrate a story this isn't considered then this will only increase the chance that the image will have to be removed later after the article has been archived. Yes, Wikinews is different in that we deal with fast moving current events, but this doesn't mean we can use images under fair use if we can't find a free image. Fair use is on the basis that a freely licensed alternative is not available and cannot be created, practically ever. I don't really consider there should be many examples of "". If this means that we have to go without an image in an article then so be it. We're trying to create a free news source which is quite a unique aim and this brings with it some difficulties in some areas, we can't always illustrate our articles. I think something else we need to consider is what do we do when we have to remove images, simply remove them or replace them with a placeholder of some sort as Anthere suggests? Adambro 18:15, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Reply
Well first off, theres a difference between this policy, and the law (note IANAL). We have images that we have specific permission from copyright to only be used on Wikinews. this is an invalid thing under this policy, but perfectly legal for us to have and host. Most of this policy is much more strict then it legally needs to be, the proposed amendment would be— Images in the archive that could be uploaded and used in an article at time of upload, should not be removed or changed, unless we are required to under law. If it is a copyright violation, its gone before you can blink. As for what to do when removing an image, currently we've been replacing the image with another one if there is a similiar image (aka, copyrighted pict of George bush head, gets replaced with a non-copyrighted version) otherwise it is removed (generally). I think replacing them with an Image:This image no longer exists.jpg would be a good idea.
As a side note. Our original Image policy (before the foundation meddled in it) said that if a fair use image has a free replacement, regardless of quality of replacement, we must replace it, even if archived. Bawolff 01:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply

fair use on non-articles


On wikipedia, Fiar use images can only be used on articles. think we should make it so that fair use can only be used on articles, portals, and categories. I belive that unlike wikipedia where portals are more for the contributors, portals here are like extensions of the main page, and should be treated as such. Categories are in the same boat, as they are often used as either mini-portals, or have a copy of the portal on them as the category ↔ portal relationship isn't very well defined (IMO). Bawolff 00:14, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply

Removed section


Kim Bruning added a section relating to archiving...



A page may consist of several objects, including images, or other multimedia.The wikinews fair use policy is not intended to deprecate the practice of archiving stories.

If an image or other multi-media file or document has been included on a page that has been archived according to the Archive conventions, the same archiving conventions logically also apply to the included image, file, or document. If we were to change such files past the archive date, then the page as a whole would end up altered, and the wikinews archives would be inaccurate.


I would like to see some version of this re-added to the policy. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:39, 23 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

You'll see that this was previously discussed above. As I've said elsewhere recently, the archiving policy is not about making sure articles look the same, it is about making sure they read the same. This is very different and does not justify keeping unfree images in violation of the board's resolution and I'd suggest people read the archiving policy and the section on article stages on Wikinews on Meta. Only changing the text makes the archives inaccurate because we're archiving primarily to ensure that the text reflects what was known at the time, not later updates. Unless we change the archiving policy then no change to this policy is justified nor is wise since this should be in line with our other policies rather than the other way around. Adambro - (talk) 11:17, 23 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
The truth is, I think we all agree fundamentally. Unfree images are allowed under our fair-use policy. Until a free alternative is found, those images with proper rationale attached should not be removed from archives. If some were, mistakenly, they should be restored. Others that are found to not have a proper fair-use rationale should be corrected, if possible, or deleted if not possible. Others images that may have had a valid fair-use rationale should be replaced with a free one, if one becomes available. This should all be done with a concern for preserving our archives in the best state possible (text and images). It seems to me our current EDP and archiving policy are consistent with the foundation's resolution. --Jcart1534 - (talk) 12:10, 23 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

My reading of the debate above is that Adambro was the only person objecting to an archiving statement (at the risk of putting words into Adambro's mouth, because he could not be convinced that the addition was consistent with the law or the Board Resolution.) A year on, is it time to restore an archiving statement to the EDP? --InfantGorilla (talk) 20:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)Reply

Okay, what if a non-free image is a subject of the article


Okay, so Wikipedia got blocked in the UK because of that stupid Scorpions album cover. An album cover is technically not a logo, publicity photograph, or work of the British government - but the story is specifically about the cover.

What do we do about that? Under my definition, an album cover is NOT a logo, its an artwork. ViperSnake151 (talk) 15:55, 7 December 2008 (UTC)Reply

Why would that make any difference to showing it being a case of fair use? For Wikinews the biggest no-no is pics from competing news sources. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:21, 7 December 2008 (UTC)Reply
Because for some stupid reason we have to use one of the templates for FU. That policy really needs looked at. Anyway, what I propose is something like {{SubjectOfArticle}}, which would come out with 'this image is directly discussed in the article as part of the subject, and therefore qualifies as Fair Use blah blah". Thoughts? Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:24, 7 December 2008 (UTC)Reply
That sounds reasonable. The original policy was meant to limit fair use to only where it is really necessary. I think that while limiting non-free content is noble, the current form of this policy is not "ideal". Bawolff 02:07, 18 April 2009 (UTC)Reply

Added historic fair use


I added this section to cover unique historic images which are allowed under fair-use guidelines. The wording was based in part on Wikipedia's policy. --SVTCobra 21:36, 8 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

I'm going to remove this section. First, you shouldn't unilaterally change an accepted policy. Second, almost every historic event image is, in fact, competitive use as they are primarily produced by news agencies as an element of coverage of events. If you think this should be added to the policy, please bring it up on the Water Cooler. - Amgine | t 21:22, 27 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
I think this was in response to my uploading of the INDECT video. Nobody has challenged my assertion of fair use, and there seems to be a consensus the video should be under fair use; the policy just doesn't cover it right now. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:45, 27 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
When I have time, I expect to defend "historic" --SVTCobra 01:11, 28 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
No, happened back in June, Brianmc. As far as I can tell your video was produced for marketing purposes, and would likely fall under the publicity photos rubric as it was released publicly by the copyright holders and there has been no assertion of marketing copyrights afaict. - Amgine | t 13:47, 28 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

What happens if an image in an archived article is deleted on the Commons because it violated Fair use policies


Can a file with the same name be uploaded to wikinews to replace it when it has been deleted from the Commons and is no longer there? See File:Fariba-iran-evin1.jpg which was uploaded today? The explanation is that it is restoring an archived article in which the image has been deleted and was a red link until today. Just wondering what the policies are at wikinews since Wikinews:Fair use indicates that wikinews Fair use polices are stricter than those of Wikipedia. Thanks, Mattisse (talk) 23:44, 3 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Also see File talk:Fariba-iran-evin1.jpg and Talk:French teacher returns home after being held in Iran for ten months where a discussion has been taking place regarding this issue. I, as a newbie, am interested to see how this issue is treated. (It might explain why newbies don't feel like sticking around if this is the way a newbie's input is treated. μ says, as I understand it, that it is not permissible to upload an image today to wikinews that violates Fair use policies to replace an image deleted on the Commons a while ago for violating Fair use. Yet that is what has happened and I am being blamed for not adding a Fair use rational to the image that editor uploaded. All I did was draw attention onthe article talk page that the image was a red link. Mattisse (talk) 01:27, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
I hate our fair use policy. No one seems to (or at least I certainly don't) understand what it actually permits and what it does not. I am also of the opinion we are generally violating the relevant wmf-wide policies on fair use images (with old archived GOL images and what not). Bawolff 01:39, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Cf. WN:Water cooler/policy/archives/2011/February#Regarding images of Aselman. --Pi zero (talk) 01:49, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Heh, I love the way Matisse blatantly ignores my comments (at least, parts of it). Diego Grez return fire 01:58, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Images which have been deleted from Commons should be uploaded to en.WN, with the file page. Fair Use media should not be uploaded to Commons ever; that site does not allow Fair Use content.
Wikinews Fair Use policy is more strict than Wikipedia's. Only images which are relevent to a news story and fall into at least one of the three Board-approved categories (trademarks, publicity images, and screen captures) are allowed. There have been several policy "extensions" over the years, but only those three have received Board approval.
Any image which meets this policy may be uploaded to en.Wikinews. Until the board specifically rescinds its previous allowance for Wikinews projects there is no justification for applying the policy of other projects here. - Amgine | t 01:58, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Shouldn't the Fair use template be filled out? Shouldn't the source, the credit and the fair use rationale be provided? Or are you saying "no", that any image that has been deleted from the Commons for Fair use violations can be uploaded here without sourcing, crediting, or a rationale for use? The image in question File:Fariba-iran-evin1.jpg does not fall within any of the categories in Wikinews:Image use policy. Wikinews own policy is not being followed. Is that ok? In the case of the image under discussion, the prison is only mentioned once in the article as the location where the article subject was incarcerated, and none of its characteristics are described. In fact, her incarceration is not described, just a mention that it happened. The article could do quite well without mentioning the name of the prison. The image of the prison (which doesn't even look like a prison but rather a hotel or something) is not fundamental to the understanding of the article. Archiving and "preserving history" should not provide for a way to violate the Fair use policy. I don't understand this. Professional organizations would retract, delete, or render inaccessible copy right violations. Wikinews is hosted on servers in the US and must follow US copy right laws. Mattisse (talk) 02:18, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
One of the primary missions of Wikinews is to create an archive of news as it was known, whether it is accurate or not. I would expect a reviewer to be examining whether an image is relevant to an article before publishing the article. But once that article has been published and archived, it is as important to Wikinews to freeze the article as it was as it is to ensure our articles are good before publication.
No, I would not personally have accepted this image for FU when the article was published. But I assume the article authors were acting in good faith in using what they believed was a free image. Now the article has been archived, it should be preserved intact as an historic document. So in this case I would agree the image should be on en.WN. Depending on the original copyright, it would likely be defensible as a transformative Fair Use, but avoiding copyright paranoia I would see this image as remaining here until asked by the copyright holder to remove it. You may have a different opinion of course. - Amgine | t 02:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
The copy right holder is unknown in the case of this image. There is zero information on that issue. Further, one of the goals of WMF is that content can be freely used by others. When you preserve in "history" an image, unnecessary to the article, that is not PD and has no Fair use rationale, how is that providing any kind of useful service to the few people who access wikinews? What is the point of preserving illegal content and making it available for public use? I don't understand the value system here. It just seems unprofessional to me, and for no particular gain. Preserve evidence of the wrongheadedness of wikinews editors? Is this something to be proud of? Archived copy right violations of an image irrelevant to the article content "preserved intact as an historic document"? How can this be justified? And what is the point? Mattisse (talk) 02:47, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
If the copyright holder is unknown, unknowable, then under US law it is not a copyright violation and the basis of the argument fails. - Amgine | t 02:57, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • I question the validity of this discussion on the basis that Commons never allowed Fair Use, thus the question as-worded isn't correct. Fair Use is permitted here. What requires resolving is are there valid grounds to claim fair use? I have details below criteria that need looked at. What is most concerning is that this seems to be used as a "test case" to put the Wikinews community on trial. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:14, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Fair use rationale: a brief explanation for Wikinews


Fair use is a legal defense for justifiable violation of another citizen's copyright; it is not a right.

The primary defense is "transformative usage". For example, a photo taken by professional portrait photographer is copyrighted, and normally would not be able to be used on Wikinews. However, if the photo has been used for publicity - such as a politician's official headshot - the image may be used to illustrate a story about that politician. The photo in this use has been "transformed" from its marketing purpose to a news purpose.

Writing a fair use rationale for such an image might be written as:

Publicity image released by [Organization or person], retrieved from [url] on [date]. Used to illustrate [news article title].

It's very easy to write a brief fair use rationale as long as you stick to the basic facts. - Amgine | t 02:21, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Easy if you have no clue as to the source or who to credit?
Image released by [nobody], retrieved from [unknown] uploaded on [1999-05-13]. Used to illustrate French teacher returns home after being held in Iran for ten months It's not a publicity image. How would you write up this brief fair use rationale? The editor of the article would appreciate it if you did so; otherwise the image is up for deletion per the advice of μ on File talk:Fariba-iran-evin1.jpg. Mattisse (talk) 03:04, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
In the specific case, under US law the image is not copyrighted. We should possibly consider a category "Free images deleted for copyright paranoia on Commons." Until we do so, consider:
Image with unknown source or credit, deleted from Commons.
Of course the data from the Commons page would be desirable. - Amgine | t 03:14, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Incidentally, that date is not possible. Wikipedia had not then been created.
That is the date provided by the uploader today. So the whole thing is fishy? So the upload today contains incorrect information? [Removed general questions about image use that don't apply to the specific image in question.] Mattisse (talk) 03:25, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply


I think this section stands on it's own. It's not involved in your campaign regarding that specific image; it was requested that I write an exemplar for this policy as I worked with the Board to get our original policy created. - Amgine | t 03:38, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Amgine | t, since you have the experience and said, "It's very easy to write a brief fair use rationale as long as you stick to the basic facts", why don't you set an example and complete one for File:Fariba-iran-evin1.jpg so it is correct? It is almost always more instructive for me to be given an example instead of abstract rules. I have already indicated that I don't know how to apply your abstract rules to this specific image. I am asking you to be helpful here, correct the fair use rationale on the image, and thereby I will learn what I should have done when I was told to create one. Please try to help me out.
I don't think the fact that I came across a deleted image and tried to find out information on how to handle that image problem is considered a "campaign" Please AGF and don't assume that my inquiries are not made with good intentions. Mattisse (talk) 18:21, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Done, Mattisse. - Amgine | t 18:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply



I've been exploring the policies of this site. Most interesting. After reading the front section of the project page I attempted to edit it but learned it was not accessible. The need for this is obvious but since I already had identified a few changes, my suggestions are set forth below:

  1. "On Wikinews fair use is almost exclusively a discussion about images." The intended meaning of this sentence can be gleaned but this is not English. "Fair use" is not a "discussion about images" (which is how this sentence actually parses). The sentences should be changed to:

    On Wikinews application of fair use is almost exclusively the subject of discussions about images, rather than text.

  2. "...tags have a fair use rationale built in them ({{logo|title=pagename}})." The use of "in" here should be "into" instead and ({{logo|title=pagename}}) should be changed to "(e.g. {{logo|title=pagename}})" or "(for example {{logo|title=pagename}})".
Thank you.-- (talk) 02:46, 5 July 2012 (UTC)Reply
  Done, more or less — I used ie instead of eg. i.e. more or less means "to clarify, the previous statement means pretty much this ===>", where e.g. means "the following is one of several/many examples of what I just mentioned, but in the interest of brevity I'm not going to list all of them". Both could work, but I think i.e. is more applicable to this situation. — Gopher65talk 05:05, 5 July 2012 (UTC)Reply
Return to the project page "Fair use".