Media Rights and Usage in Wikimedia Commons


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A brief review of media rights and usage on Wikimedia Commons and related websites.

Originally intended for a galleries, libraries, archives and museum oriented audience, this PowerPoint provides a great starting point to become comfortable with copyright and Wikipedia.

Published in: Technology, Art & Photos
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  • Wikimedia Commons serves as the Foundation’s media repository. It provides a place for public domain and freely licensed educational media to be available for all. It also acts as a repository for the Foundation's related projects, like Wikipedia, Wikisource, etc. I bolded “educational” to emphasize the meaning – educational can broadly cover anything that provides knowledge, is instructional or informative.
  • So what can be included on Commons? It must be a media file – photos, scanned documents, quality diagrams, animations, audio recordings, videos. It must be an allowable free file format – this includes jpeg, gifs and for audio/visual ogg. It has to be freely licensed or public domain, which you’ll learn about in the next slide. And it must be used for educational purposes, ideally – no family photos of you at the Christmas tree, no art you created in art school unless you’re really really famous or it’s a really educational work. No advertising – like a flier for your bands upcoming concert.
  • We accept only free content – that includes public domain, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with. That also includes freely licensed media. To the left is the public domain symbol, no copyright. To the right is the logo for a “free cultural work”.
  • Freely licensed means that you give people the freedom to: Use of modify the content, distribute copies of the content, and distribute derivatives of the content. Wikimedia Commons does not allow fair use or uploads under non-free licenses, including licenses which restrict commercial use of materials or disallow derivative works.These are the two free licenses we accept – Creative Commons-BY-A – that means that anyone can modify, use and distribute the content and its derivatives as long as attribution is given. CC-BY-SA is everything from the previous license, with the addition of the “share alike” clause – if you make a derivative or copy of this work, it has to be also released under the CC-BY-SA license.
  • Wikimedia has a vast network of volunteers who monitor copyright violations. For example, we delete media if it is missing the appropriate copyright tag. We also delete images within five days if permission is not received by Commons staff within 7 days – permissions meaning a letter of permission from the copyright holder of the image, and that holder is not the uploader – this letter is obtained by the uploader and is reviewed by a legal team at Commons if needed.
  • Individuals can donate their work to the Wikimedia Commons, as can organizations and institutions. Some notable examples of donations from institutions include the German Federal Archives, which donated a whopping 82,000 images in 2008, to, more recently, the Palace of Versailles, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and NARA.
  • Wikipedia does allow the upload and use of copyrighted images for use in Wikipedia articles. This is justified under an argument of Fair Use, and it isonly possible if 1) there is no free equivalent available of the image, 2) it’s only used in that one specific article, and 3) the image is significant to enhancing the educational purpose of the article, such as showing what someone or something looks like. Examples: a photograph of a painting or sculpture by a living artist.
  • Many of you are already participating in Flickr Commons. I use Flickr, it’s a great website, but what are the differences between the two? This list is quite daunting, are just a few examples of how they differ. Wikimedia Commons has almost an endless disk space, some of you might remember Flickr Commons ceased accepting new institutions due to lack of space last year. We have no ads, corporations or commercial motivation – Flickr is owned by Yahoo! Our media is intended to primarily be used on Wikipedia, while Flickr is a website devoted to photography and photographers. Our website has evolved to be more user friendly, at least in uploading, but is still sometimes daunting – while Flickr is really user friendly and interactive for registered users – you can tag, comment, favorite images. Flickr requires all Commons images must be “no known copyright,” while Wikimedia does require that the copyright status be researched and defined with greater precision. Analytics wise – Flickr allows you to see how many views your image has had, and by date. Commons doesn’t allow this, but, it will allow you to see how your images are being used – individually or categorically, throughout the Wikimedia project system, this includes views. Flickr is English based, while Wikimedia offers hundreds of languages. We’re free; Flickr Commons costs $30/year for a Pro Account. Oh, and if you didn’t know by now, most images from the Flickr Commons are automatically being uploaded under public domain tags into Wikimedia by bots.
  • So much information…so let’s talk! This was the Wikimedia Commons photo of the year, which was voted on by thousands of Commons users and scrutinized down to its minute details by our esteemed group of photographers. It is a wide-angle shot of Paranal astronomical observatory, on the coast of northern Chile, and was taken by Yuri Beletsky from the European Southern Observatory, an organization which releases all of their images under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
  • Media Rights and Usage in Wikimedia Commons

    1. 1. Media Rights and Usage<br />Sarah StierchWikipedian In Residence – Archives of American Art, 2011<br />@sarah_stierch<br /><br />
    2. 2. Provides a media repository that: <br /><ul><li>Makes available public domain & freely licensed educational media to all
    3. 3. Acts as a common repository for projects related to the Wikimedia Foundation (i.e. Wikipedia)</li></li></ul><li>What can be included on Wikimedia Commons?<br /><ul><li>Must be a media file
    4. 4. Photographs, scanned images, diagrams, animations, audio (music, interviews) , videos
    5. 5. Must be an allowable free file format
    6. 6. .jpg, .tiff, .png, .gif., .ogg, .pdf (no mp3, wma)
    7. 7. See full list of allowable filetypes
    8. 8. Must be freely licensed or public domain
    9. 9. No restrictions on commercial or derivative works
    10. 10. Must realistically be able to be used for an educational purpose
    11. 11. No holiday family photos, self-created art with no educational purpose, advertising, etc.</li></li></ul><li>Acceptable Licensing<br />We accept only free content.<br />That includes PUBLIC DOMAIN<br />and freely licensed media<br />
    12. 12. What does freely licensed mean?<br />People have the freedom to:<br /><ul><li>Use or modify the content
    13. 13. Distribute copies of the content
    14. 14. Distribute works derived from the content</li></li></ul><li>Wikimedia Commons has a vast network of volunteers who monitor copyright violations. <br /><ul><li>We delete it if it’s missing the correct license tag (i.e. PD, CC-BY-A)
    15. 15. We delete it if permissions are not granted after 7 days (i.e. from a photographer or artist who isn’t the uploader)</li></ul>….just examples<br />
    16. 16. Examples of Wikimedia Commons donations from institutions<br /><ul><li> National Archives & Records Administration (USA)
    17. 17. NationaalArchief (Netherlands)
    18. 18. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (USA)
    19. 19. Brooklyn Museum (USA)
    20. 20. Palace of Versailles (France)
    21. 21. Bundesarchiv (Germany)</li></ul>More examples: see list of Wikimedia/institutional partnerships<br />
    22. 22. Wikipedia ≠ Wikimedia CommonsFair Use of copyrighted images IS permitted on Wikipedia, only if:<br /><ul><li>No free equivalent is available
    23. 23. It is only used in only one article
    24. 24. Must be significant to the article – i.e. to show what someone or something looks like</li></li></ul><li>Wikimedia vs. Flickr Commons<br />WIKIMEDIA<br /><ul><li>Almost endless disk space
    25. 25. No ads, no corporation, no commercial motivation
    26. 26. Intended to have media used on Encyclopedia (mainly)
    27. 27. You can see where your images are used on Wikimedia
    28. 28. We have tools to show you how entire categories (i.e. Archives of American Art) are being used
    29. 29. Multiple languages
    30. 30. Free</li></ul>FLICKR<br /><ul><li>Primarily for photographs & photographers
    31. 31. User-friendly for registered users to comment and tag
    32. 32. Ran out of space in 2010
    33. 33. Must be “no known copyright”
    34. 34. Analytics for views & comments
    35. 35. Most of these images are already in Wikimedia Commons
    36. 36. $30/year</li></li></ul><li>