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Frequently Asked QuestionsEdit

In the text below terms "license templates" and "copyright tag" mean exactly the same.

1. You added {{No license}} warnings to my files and notifications that my files can be deleted on my talk page. What is all that about?
Commons policy requires all files to have a license templates (aka Copyright tag) at the time of the upload. For example, currently the default license template suggested by the upload wizard is {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} or {{Cc-by-sa-4.0}}. Those notifications alert you that at the present your new uploads do not have license templates. Files without a license template are routinely tagged with {{No license}} tag and are given 7 days to add a license before images are deleted.
2. Someone send me this image to be used in Wikipedia article. What license should I use?
See last two bullets of the next question.
3. What is a license and how do I pick one?
The full story can be found at COM:LIC and COM:CT, but to summarize:
  • If you are the copyright holder (usually photographer, artist or author, but not the subject), than please read COM:CT and pick a license. For example, currently the default license template suggested by the upload wizard is {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} or {{Cc-by-sa-4.0}}.
  • If image is in public domain, read here
  • If you are uploading some else's image and the image was posted on the web and is clearly labeled as being released under free license then add a matching license template and specify in the source link to the image and the license statement. You should also add {{LicenseReview |site=|user=|date=}} to the license to request license review by experienced user.
  • If you are uploading some else's image, which was sent to you by the copyright holder (usually not the subject of the photo) than please read COM:OTRS and either forward your email exchange to OTRS or request the copyright holder to send proper permission to OTRS.
  • If everything else fails and you only want to use an image on English Wikipedia, you might be able to upload it directly there as non-free content claiming fair use exemption.
4. I added the license template can I remove {{No license}} tag?
Yes, or let me know and I will remove it.
5. My file has {{OTRS pending}} template and I am planning to add the license once author replies. Can I remove {{No license}} tag?
No. Files with OTRS templates still need a license templates at the time of the upload. If the author did not gave you a permission to upload his image under an agreed on free license, you should not be uploading it.
6. You deleted a photograph I took. What should I do?
If you tell me which license template you would like to use, I will undelete it, or in case I am not around please file undeletion request.
7. I do not understand what is invalid about my license. Can you help?
If you got the notification about copyright status from me, than it means that there are no license templates in your file at all. I do not evaluate correctness of the licenses, only tag files missing them. If you think your file has a license than see the next question.
8. My file has a license template, so what is the issue?
There are several possibilities here:
  1. Most likely someone else fixed the problem before you looked at it
  2. You used depreciated license tag or something that sounds like license tag but really is not
  3. Sometimes if you recently (minutes) added or fixed the license template, I might notify you about it's lack after the issue was fixed.
  4. Newly created license templates sometimes are not build properly and has to be fixed. Please notify me about them.
  5. There are some known cases there a database query claims that file does not have a license when in fact it has one. Please notify me and I apologize for the false alarm.
9. The license type is described in plain English. Why don't you just add the proper template instead of starting bureaucracy? It would be less work for everybody.
See below
10. The license had a simple typo. Why don't you simply fix it instead of adding a label almost as big as one screen page?
The thing is that all the finding of the new uploads without a license, the tagging of the images and notifying users is done by multi-step semi-automatic process, and I rarely look at the individual files. What is happening is that I run a query that finds all the new files (<7 days old) which are missing a license (for whatever reason). Then I add {{No license}} tag for tracking and notify the uploaders that they are missing licenses. I usually perform this operation 1-2 times a week and tag 10-100 files at the time. There is no men power to "simply fixing" all those files manually, especially since it is usually spend on manually fixing similar volume of old files that somehow "lost" their licenses every week.
11. I don't know how to make a "liecense template".
You do not make one but pick one from list of existing license templates (aka Copyright tags).