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Dungeons and Dragons Wiki:Image Policies

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General Copyright InformationEdit

Before we get to the meat of our image policies (which are better described as "the way borrowing images on the internet should be for everyone"), let's talk about copyright in general. Copyright is a useful, if occasionally frustrating, tool that we need to work with to keep certain site issues to a minimum. In the United States of America, whose copyright laws this site is bound to, the creator of a written or graphical works automatically possesses copyright for his work. If they made it first, they basically own it for a period of time and they get to control how their work is used to a very large degree. With a few exceptions, discussed later on, using someone's work without permission can lead to requests for removal of the work, lawyer penned ugly take-down notices, or even law suits.

As we are a volunteer driven community, we don't want to deal with any of that legal crap. Most of our written content is made by our users and licensed to the wiki when they post it, so we don't really need to worry on that front. On the rare occasion that someone does post something they didn't write, we're pretty good about either securing permission or just deleting it.

Images, on the other hand, are a much larger problem because it is super easy to save it and re-upload it here. Most images out there on the internet are owned and copyrighted by someone. If you're going to use them here you must follow copyright guidelines; otherwise we leave ourselves open to trouble.

Image PoliciesEdit

Image policy on this wiki is broken up into three different groups: one for each of the three main groups of copyright holders.

Using Public Domain ImagesEdit

If the image is in the Public Domain, you can use it here without worry because the copyright has expired or the creator gave it up. There is no copyright on these works at all, and that makes that free for anyone to use. If you aren't certain that it is in the public domain, you should probably treat it as a copyrighted image instead. When you upload it to the wiki, make sure that you specify "This is in the public domain" in the Licensing drop down, or go back and add the {{PD}} template to the file page if you forgot earlier.

Using an Image You CreatedEdit

If you made the image yourself, you own it and can license it to the wiki (which you do by uploading it) and we don't have to worry about any nasty legal issues. Be sure to select "I took this photo myself" from the licensing drop down when you upload it to the wiki, or go back and add the {{self}} template to the file page if you forgot earlier.

Using Copyrighted ImagesEdit

If you didn't make it yourself but copied it from an internet or dead tree source, then you can use the copyrighted image as long as one of the following three things are true:

  1. You have permission from the copyright owner / creator.
  2. The image is licensed under terms that allow others to use it for free; this may come with additional requirements for use like attribution or non-commercial use and vary with license.
  3. You're going to put it up under Fair Use.

Each of these possibilities comes with one or more licensing options in the Licensing drop down on the image upload page. We like permission about the same as we like free licensing, but we like both of those a lot more than we like to Fair Use an image. All of these possibilities require some amount of additional information about the file. This additional information belongs in the Summary box. Source information, specific license information, and any other details required to adhere to the license terms need to be here if you don't want the file to be deleted.

If you neglected to add this information when you uploaded the image, you will need to add it to the file page afterwards. The table below will help you find the template that matches the licensing information as well as any required information for that option.

A Note on Fair UseEdit

Fair use allows us to use copyrighted images without consent of the copyright holder. Sorta. Fair use is more accurately called a copyright litigation defense. It is actual law, but it's so vague as to basically leave final interpretation as to whether each individual case is infringement or fair use up to the courts. If you're going to claim fair use of an image, you need to be sure to cover all of the bases.

For our uses, the place we're most likely to break fair use is in the 3rd factor: the amount and substantiability used of the original work. You should not upload full resolution images to this wiki if you intend to claim fair use. Thumbnails and scaled down images are generally accepted to be fair use by the courts (assuming the other factors are satisfied), especially when they point back to the copyright holder for a full version. So scale down any image you intend to put up under fair use, in addition to providing a source for it.

File LicensingEdit

This table contains all of the licensing options available in the Licensing drop down box of the image upload screen, as well as any source or additional requirements. It is intended to be an explicit declaration of what the various licensing options require to keep us out of trouble. So do what it says, and put the required templates and details on the page.

Licensing Type
(Dropdown Option)
Associated Template Required Source Information Notes
None Selected This is the default option, and will not apply a licensing template to the file. It is also not an allowed licensing option on this wiki. Files without licensing information will be deleted.
I don't know the license {{No license}} Web site or published location As long as you have a source, someone will be able to update the license later on or remove it if it is inappropriate.
I took this photo myself {{self}} You should understand that you are releasing your image under the CC-BY-SA license, and others will be able to use it with attribution.
I got this from Wikipedia or another Wikimedia project {{From Wikimedia}} Wikipedia or Wikimedia address This licensing option does not include images hosted on other Wikia sites. Those images are licensed just like these are, and you will need to indicate that license and also trace them back to their original source.
This is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License {{CC-BY-SA}} Web site or published location
This is licensed under another free license {{Other free}} Web site or published location Include the license in the file summary, as well as anything that you are required to do to use the file.
This is in the public domain {{PD}}
This will be used in a way that qualifies as fair use under US law {{Fairuse}} Web site or published location Most copyrighted images that are not licensed under a free license will use this licensing option. Please try to avoid uploading large, high resolution images if you select this license, as it may run afoul of the third factor in the fair use test. See Fair Use for more information on this copyright exemption.
This is copyrighted, but use is permitted by the copyright holder {{Permission}} Web site or published location

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