Wikipedia:Uploading images

A Wikimedia Foundation brochure in PDF form that introduces newcomers to Wikimedia Commons and how they can contribute to it.

Uploading images to Wikipedia is a matter of:

  • clearly establishing that the copyright status of each intended upload is appropriate for a free-content encyclopedia; and then
  • uploading the image with clear labeling as to its origin and copyright status.

If you want to upload multiple images using the New wizard, use Commons:Special:UploadWizard.

Unfortunately, large numbers of images are removed from Wikipedia within hours or days of being uploaded due to inappropriate, insufficient or inaccurate copyright information. By diligently completing the above steps, you can save yourself and others a great deal of time and ensure that whatever you upload will remain a part of Wikipedia's knowledge base.

Here is a brief synopsis of the image requirements:

Allowed copyright statuses include (in descending order of desirability):

  • Public domain (expired copyright or public from inception) (see here)
  • One of various licenses listed in this Wikipedia resource page. The only Creative Commons licenses allowed are CC BY-SA (BY = Attribution and SA = Share Alike) and CC BY (Attribution only). Creative Commons licenses such as CC BY-NC-ND (NC = No commercial use, ND = No derivations or adaptations) are not permitted as such licenses do not allow totally free, credited use.
  • Claimed as fair use under Wikipedia's non-free content guidelines

If you upload a file with a "fair use" designation, be sure to rely on competent copyright law authority; if there is any question about its status, you will have to defend its inclusion on Wikipedia. Images that fail to meet the fair use criteria will be promptly removed.

Don't take removal of an image personally. Wikipedia serves the widest of audiences and as such must be exemplary in its handling of sensitive things like imagery of living persons. In addition to relying upon competent authority regarding copyright status, we recommend relying upon common sense when considering whether an image of a living person might be considered offensive.

Before uploading images at Wikipedia:File Upload Wizard, make sure you read and follow the image use policy. Most images you might find on the Internet are copyrighted and not appropriate for uploading to Wikipedia. If you did not create the image, or if you are unable or unwilling to verify its copyright status, do not upload the image. Images whose owners have stipulated they be used for non-commercial purposes only are not allowed. For hints on how to find images appropriate for uploading, see the finding images tutorial. It might also be helpful to read Wikipedia:Preparing images for upload.


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