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When you upload a file, you must indicate its license status. See Commons:Licensing for a quick tutorial about licenses.

Depending on what license you choose using the license selector, a so-called copyright tag is inserted into the resulting description page, such as {{cc-by-3.0}}. This will display license information on the description page, and categorize the file accordingly. You can also insert any of these tags manually into the upload summary. The tags can be viewed and edited at [[Template:Tag name]], e.g. Template:cc-by-3.0 for {{cc-by-3.0}}.

All tags are displayed at Commons:Image copyright tags visual. For more information about licensing and required information, see Commons:Licensing and Commons:Project scope.


Public domain


See also Category:PD license tags for a full list.

Non-U.S. works

All works hosted at the Commons must be legal to publish in the United States. For non-U.S. "public domain" works, this means they must be in the public domain in both the non-U.S. source country and in the U.S., or there must be an explicit release of the work for the U.S. under a free license.

For non-U.S. works, please add one of the following tags in addition to an appropriate license tag:

  • {{PD-US-expired}} for works published (not simply created!) before January 1, 1924.
  • {{PD-URAA-Simul|country|URAA date|reason}} or {{PD-1996|country|URAA date|reason}} if published 1924 or later, and not copyrighted in their source country on the URAA date (January 1, 1996 for most countries).
  • {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} or {{Not-PD-US-URAA|country|URAA date}} for works published 1924 or later, but copyrighted in the source country on the URAA date, even if that non-U.S. copyright has expired since then. Note that this concerns most works published 1924 or later of authors who died after 1925 (for source countries with a copyright term of "life of author plus 70 years").
    For works of such authors that were published before 1924, use {{PD-US-expired}} in addition to the appropriate copyright tag for the source country.
  • {{Not-free-US-FOP}} for media published under FoP-rules not yet proven to be acceptable in the US.

Sometimes you can use the general time-based automated public domain license tags.


  • {{cc-zero}} – for works released under the CC0. Like {{PD-author}}/etc., plus an explicit fallback to an extremely permissive copyright license in cases where releasing into the actual public domain is impossible.
  • {{PD-self}} – for works released into the public domain by their creator who is also the uploader.
  • {{PD-user|username}} – for works released into the public domain by their creators when the creators are Wikimedia Commons users.
  • {{PD-user-en|username}} – for works released into the public domain by their creators when the creators are English Wikipedia users.
  • {{PD-user-w|projectcode|projectname|username}} – for works released into the public domain by their creators when the creators are other Wikipedia users.
The variable projectcode is the language name of the creator's local Wikipedia (e.g. "de" for the German Wikipedia, and "ja" for the Japanese);
The variable projectname is the human readable project name (e.g. "French Wikipedia", "German Wiktionary", etc).
The variable username is the creator's log-in name at that project.
  • {{PD-author|author}} – for works released into the public domain by non-Wikimedia users. Some further explanation should be given such as a link to the author's website where they explicitly state that they release the work into the public domain (e.g. {{PD-author|[ author]}} ).
  • {{PD-heirs}} – for works released into the public domain by the heirs of the creator.
  • {{PD-because|reason}} – generic template; please supply a valid reason for the file being PD.
  • {{PD-Art|PD tag}} – for faithful photographic reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art. Applies in certain[clarification needed] countries only.
The variable PD tag is the name of the copyright tag that describes why the original is in the public domain. If empty, PD-old is assumed. Please see also Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag.
  • {{PD-scan}} – for scans of public domain originals which may have been enhanced, but only to the extent that no independent copyright protection can be expected to arise out of the enhancements. See also Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.
  • {{PD-retouched-user}} – for public domain works that have been significantly retouched or modified by a Commons user. This explicitly releases all rights to those modifications.
  • {{PD-animal}} – for works created by non-human animals.

Threshold of Originality

  • For chemistry structures, use {{PD-chem}}.
  • For logos that only consist of simple geometric shapes and/or text, use {{PD-textlogo}}
  • For simple text, (non-logo) use {{PD-text}}.
  • For simple geometry shapes, use {{PD-shape}}
  • For Unicode glyphs, use {{PD-Unicode}}.
  • For raster renderings of a font (or typeface), use {{PD-font}}.
  • For simple (non-creative) reproduction of two-dimensional subject, use {{PD-scan}} or {{PD-scan-two}}.
    If the depicted subject is a creative work, it should have also its own permission (license tag)!
  • For SVG representations of an ancient script, use {{PD-ancient-script}}.
  • For technical images created as part of standard medical diagnostic procedures, use {{PD-medical}}.
  • For works too trivial to be copyrighted see {{PD-ineligible}}.

General time based public domain

  • {{PD-old}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired.
  • {{PD-old-100}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired in countries and areas copyrighting works for life plus 100 years or less.
  • {{PD-old-80}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired in countries and areas copyrighting works for life plus 80 years or less.
  • {{PD-old-75}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired in countries and areas copyrighting works for life plus 75 years or less.
  • {{PD-old-70}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired in countries and areas copyrighting works for life plus 70 years or less.
  • {{PD-old-50}} – for works in the public domain because their copyright has expired in the USA and countries and areas copyrighting works for life plus 50 years or less.
  • {{Anonymous work}} – anonymous work more than 50 years old (Berne convention).
Warning: Note that all above general time based public domain tags are not sufficient if alone. All media files on Wikimedia Commons tagged with those license must also be tagged with a license that is explicitly valid in the United States.

General time based automated public domain licenses

  • {{PD-anon-auto-1996}} is for anonymous works eligible for {{PD-1996}}. Depending on which year an anonymous work was published, it will automatically show the appropriate details.

Country-specific tags

Main page: Commons:Copyright tags/Country-specific tags.

Copyright rules vary from one country to another (see Commons:Copyright rules by territory). A file may be in the public domain in its country of origin based on the date of death of the author, date of publication, type of work, organization that commissioned the work and so on. Country-specific license tags are used to show the reason why a file uploaded to Wikimedia Commons is in the public domain in its country of origin. For non-US files, another tag should be given that shows why it is in the public domain in the United States.


GNU Licenses

Main page: Commons:Copyright tags/GNU Licenses.

The GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and GNU General Public License (GPL) are a widely-used free documentation and software copyleft licenses. Works licensed under the GNU family of licenses may be uploaded to Wikimedia.

Free Creative Commons licenses

Attribution (by) and Attribution-ShareAlike (by-sa) licenses without NonCommercial (nc) or NoDerivs (nd) restrictions are accepted, as are CC0 and CC-PD. Also see the full table of allowed Creative Commons licenses. Note that country specific licenses are based on that specific country copyright law.

Old Creative Commons licenses

The following licenses have been superseded by more recent versions. They are still available for use.

Source-specific Creative Commons licenses

Copyleft Attitude License

  • {{FAL}} – Free Art License, a free license published by Copyleft Attitude, can be applied to digital as well as to non-digital art. With this Free Art License, you are authorised to copy, distribute and freely transform the work of art while respecting the rights of the originator. The FAL is recommended by the Free Software Foundation: "We don't take the position that artistic or entertainment works must be free, but if you want to make one free, we recommend the Free Art License."

Various free licenses

Other free tags

  • {{Attribution}} – Copyrighted, but freely usable given the copyright holder is credited.
    • If you are the author of the work, consider using {{cc-by-4.0}}, instead.
  • {{Copyrighted free use}} – Copyrighted, but the copyright holder allows anyone to use it for any purpose.
    • Consider using {{cc-zero}} for your own work instead.
  • {{BSD}} – 3-clause BSD license
    • {{BSDu|username}} – BSD license with user variable
    • {{BSD-2c-KDE|Author=name|Year=years}} – 2-clause BSD-derived license used by KDE
  • {{CPL}}IBM's Common Public License 1.0
  • So-called “MIT licenses”:
    • {{Expat|copyright holder}} – Expat license.
    • {{X11|authors or copyright holders}} – the X11 license, used by some software like Xfontsel.
  • {{Apache}} – Apache v2.0 license
  • {{Free screenshot|license=free license}} – for screenshots containing pictures of not copyrighted programs, or programs released under a free license, or by some other way following the requirements of Commons. The actual free license should be indicated as a parameter to the tag. (See {{screenshot}} below for screenshots of copyrighted software or operating systems). If the screenshot shows original work by someone else, make sure it's under a free license and indicate that license using a separate license tag from above. If it shows your own work, say so explicitly and select a license tag of your liking from above.
  • {{AerialPhotograph-mlitJP}} – images from
  • {{IPPAR}} – for images from
  • {{Bmz}} – images from are copyrighted but may be used if the source is acknowledged as the Amsterdam Municipal Department for the Preservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites (bMA)]. This applies only to images for which bMA does not mention some other source.
  • {{OGL}}Open Government License
  • {{OGL-C}}Open Government License-Canada
  • {{Open Font}} – for fonts or characters licensed under the SIL Open Font License
  • {{NZTA-Sign-Spec}} – copyrighted but can be used for commercial or noncommercial use (just not on a New Zealand road)

Unfree licenses

The following copyright options are not acceptable at Commons. Images with these tags will be deleted. Before deleting such images, check to see if they are multi-licensed. Some of these can be used as an option, together with a free licence.

  • {{Copyvio}} – Copyright violation. This image will need to be deleted.
    • {{Screenshot}} – Copyrighted screenshots. (See {{free screenshot}} above for uncopyrighted screenshots.)
    • {{Fairuse}} – Copyrighted content that may be used as fair-use, but since the commons does not accept fair use content this image will need to be deleted. See here for details why.
  • {{Noncommercial}} – Noncommercial copyright status. This image will have to be deleted.
  • {{Nonderivative}} – Copyright status that does not allow changes to the image or file. This image will have to be deleted.
    • Note this includes any Creative Commons "nd" license.
    • {{NZCrownCopyright}} – Some New Zealand Government departments allow their material to be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium provided, but it must be reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context, making this a nonderivative license.
  • {{ADRM2}} – "Against DRM 2.0". It contains two important clauses: a clause about related rights and a clause against DRM (Digital Restrictions Management).
  • {{RomanianGovernmentCopyright}} – Romanian Government copyright; use in journalistic/scientific contexts only.
  • {{FrenchMinistryOfForeignAffairs}} – Photographs of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no commercial use permitted.
  • {{IRFCA}} – Photographs from Indian Railways Fan Club, All rights reserved.
  • {{Members of the Riksdag}} photos of members of the Swedish parliament, from No commercial use permitted.
  • {{Attribution-Ubisoft}}deprecated template, previously used for screenshots Ubisoft games

Unknown nature

The exact nature for the following licenses is unknown. They might be free licenses but they might also be something between merely an informative notice that fair use is permitted by law and a non-derivative license. Before uploading an image under one of these licences, please consider first finding out whether the licence is free by researching the terms and applicable laws or asking the copyright holder (example request texts are available), or both, and please share your results with others.

  • {{PD-EEA}}EEA Website for media copyrighted by the Organization of American States perhaps may not be modified; use in journalistic/scientific contexts only.

Tags for incomplete or missing license info

  • {{no license|month=April|day=21|year=2019}} or simply {{subst:nld}} – Unknown copyright status. Copyright status is needed to keep this image. Use even if the image has no license info, but has been claimed by the uploader as own original work. The uploader probably meant to place it under some free license, but did not specify which one.
  • {{no source since|month=April|day=21|year=2019}} or simply {{subst:nsd}} – No source information or the image has been tagged as being under a free license, but information required by the license (or to verify the status) is missing. The source must be given so that the copyright status can be verified.

Other tags

These tags may be used in addition to the copyright tags above.

  • {{2257}} - for works created after November 1, 1990 of one or more humans engaged in sexually explicit content, which are subject to US age record-keeping requirements. The US imposes criminal penalties on any individual/entity that "publishes, reproduces, or reissues" such content and also qualifies as a "secondary producer" under the law (Commons does not meet the definition of secondary producer).
  • {{Coat of Arms}} – for coats of arms, i.e. the representation of a blazon as it is known in heraldry. Note: though the composition of coats of arms is usually PD (and may be represented anew without "derivative work" consideration), a given artistic representation is a work of art on its own right, subject to copyright. Be sure to check.
  • {{Communist symbol}} – for images showing or resembling symbols of Communism, especially the hammer and sickle. The use of such images is restricted in Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. The copyright status must be indicated separately. Similar to {{Nazi symbol}}.
  • {{Counterfeiting}} - used to tag images that may be subject to restrictions on reuse to prevent counterfeiting (eg. images of government-issued identification cards). Do not use for currency (use {{currency}} instead) or tickets (use {{Ticket}})
  • {{Currency}} - for images of currency, which may be subject to country-specific restrictions on such images may be printed (to prevent counterfeiting).
  • {{FoP}} – for photos taken under the legal exception of the freedom of panorama (Panoramafreiheit)
  • {{IHL Symbol}} – for images containing symbols protected by international humanitarian law, such as a red cross. The use of these symbols may be restricted by international and national legislation, so make sure you are using them accordingly.
  • {{Insignia}} – for flags, coat of arms, seals or other official insignia.
  • {{Islamic state}} – for images showing or resembling a symbol of the Islamic State or a similar organisation. The use of such images is restricted in Germany and other countries. The copyright status must be indicated separately.
  • {{Kopimi}} – When the copyright owner wants people to copy, modify, and distribute the file/image.
  • {{Modifications-ineligible}} – for works with minor modifications. Indicates explicitly that the modifications are ineligible for copyright.
  • {{Nazi symbol}} – for images showing or resembling a symbol of the Nazi party or a similar organisation, especially the swastika. The use of such images is restricted in Germany and other countries. The copyright status must be indicated separately.
    • {{Non Nazi swastikas}} – for images of swastikas unrelated to Nazi Germany. While swastikas are banned in Germany and some other countries, some non-Nazi-related images may be permissible (such as the religious swastikas used in Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism).
  • {{PermissionOTRS}} – Allows to enter easily a ticket number for permissions forwarded to otrs. syntax is: {{PermissionOTRS|ticket http address}}.
  • {{Personality rights}} – Personality rights warning, for images of an identifiable person who is alive or deceased recently
  • {{Property rights}} - although Commons generally does not reject content when the image taker violates "house rules" (such as when an image of a public domain work is taken in a museum that bans photography), such infringements of a property owner's property or where consent was not given may be unlawful and some countries may restrict reuses of such content.
  • {{Trademarked}} – for branding logos, designs, names, words, phrases and any other kind of trademarked element (usually accompanied with ® or ). Note that even though copyright and trademark have different scopes regarding intellectual property, some free content may be registered and protected for trademark usage. Also see Commons:Licensing#Simple design.


Country-specific sources


  • {{ModernEgypt}} – for works sourced from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's Memory of Modern Egypt Digital Archive (public domain status of each image has to be verified)


South Korea

  • {{KOGL-type1}} – for images licensed under Korea Open Government License, Type 1

United States of America

  • {{LOC-image}} – for images sourced from the U.S. Library of Congress
  • {{LOC-map}} – for map images sourced from the U.S. Library of Congress
  • {{NARA-image}} – for images sourced from the U.S. National Archives' Archival Research Catalog
  • {{PCL}} – for images copied from the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) of the University of Texas at Austin. (public domain status of each image has to be verified!)

See also


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