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Community Wishlist Survey 2017/Multimedia and Commons/Automatic display of attribution and license information

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Automatic display of attribution and license information

  • Problem: We currently do not display any attribution, license or other common types of multimedia metadata when illustrating Wikipedia articles - we rely on the manually written contextual caption and users clicking the image to see any metadata. Yet, we expect third-party re-users of our materials (e.g. in news websites) to overtly display the free-license information, the photographer's attribution, or at the very least the words "via Wikimedia Commons" with a link. This is inconsistent. If we want people to respect free licenses and attribution metadata we should be upholding best practices ourselves.
  • Who would benefit: Readers of illustrated Wikipedia articles, Commons photographers and other multimedia creators, re-users of free-licensed materials, the 'unseen' Commons users who regularly clean up messy metadata.
  • Proposed solution: Create a UI (it could be a 'hover over', or small/semi-transparent font, or some other design) that displays the key licensing and attribution metadata for any file being embedded from Commons, on Wikipedia (or other sister-site). This includes: Author, year, license. This would not replace or distract from the contextual caption in the Wikipedia article but supplement it. When applicable this metadata could also include the relevant institution e.g. a space agency, or a GLAM.
  • More comments: Norwegian (Bokmal) has a version of this already within their standard image template called "credit line". However it is manually written, and therefore duplicates the metadata on Commons.

This builds on the work of the 2014 File metadata cleanup drive which aimed to ensure that all files, especially those used in WP articles, have machine-readable metadata. By making the metadata more visible, Wikimedia editors will be incentivised to ensure that the information on Commons is accurate.
The work of the "Structured Data on Commons" project would benefit from this as it would increase the inter-project visibility of our own metadata, decreasing barriers between the sister projects.
There would be a lot of edge cases - such as "photograph of a painting in a book, uploaded by a museum" where the licensing/attribution metadata would be multilayered. However, if there's ANY community in the world who can discuss and come to a consensus about licensing/attribution copyright edge cases, it's the Commons community!

  • Phabricator tickets:


  • Mediaviewer already does this right ? And Wikipedia itself discourages from doing it more 'inline' of the article.. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:38, 15 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Is the "we expect third-party re-users" sentence accurate, or is it merely that we expect reusers to follow the terms of the images' licenses, which in the case of CC-BY licenses requires the attribution be made "in any reasonable manner based on the medium", which for traditional news sites and paper publications differs from that for MediaWiki-based wikis? Anomie (talk) 15:18, 15 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • I remember this has been talked about for a long time, in cycles, on svwiki, and a solution would have saved many hours and kept a couple of good photographers from leaving. I found some notes from a meetup in 2010 where an automatic solution was discussed and liked. Ainali (talk) 17:00, 15 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes that could be one of benefits of Structured Data on Commons effort. --Jarekt (talk) 14:36, 16 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
    We already have structured data for this (and it's already displayed in dedicated image viewers like MediaViewer or the mobile app lightboxes or the slideshow gadget on Commons). The question is to what extent should the information be forced on the reader (who typically does not care). The status quo seems like a good trade-off to me in that regard. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 20 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
    I assume that since you're saying this as a software developer from your WMF user-account, that you're vetoing the idea? Wittylama (talk) 20:43, 2 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Currently we don't show proper licence data on the page where the pictures are shown. We rely on linkage to some completely different webpage, called commons, where this data is stored. On the other hand there are photographers who sue users of pictures, who behave in the same manner (link the picture to commons without any more attribution), for a four-digit Euro-value because of massive copyright infringement. OK, there is this far-fetched construct, that Commons and WP are all the same project, despite all this different URL, communities, rules etc., but that's just wikilawyering and sophistry, not helpful at all. It would be helpful, if we behaved in a manner, that could be used as a blueprint for any reuse. If anyone uses a picture anywhere in the same way as in any WP, it should be fine and legally proof. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:00, 20 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I only assume they sent threatening letters via lawyers to users of the pictures, who make minor errors in attribution, and hope for massive payment. It's antisocial, it's perhaps not even legal, but it seems lucrative enough to act this way. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:42, 26 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • There is something to learn in this from WM-DE's "Attribution Generator" . Wittylama (talk) 20:41, 2 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Semi-transparent text placed on the embedded image permanently would be annoying (also if only very small on the side or bottom). Information displayed while hovering would be O. K. but I'd prefer either a small credit line below the caption (like in the Norwegian (Bokmal) wikipedia (example) but with all licensing information suggested or requested by the license and, if requested, attribution data) or licensing/attribution-symbol, that shows the information wile hovering over it and after clicking on it (a click may lead to the description page in commons, or to a pop-up window/dialogue showing the relevant information). Especially for the print-version of a page and for the PDF-version I regard it as relevant to give all the information on the page itself so that it's gets printed on paper (maybe with a separately styled footnote at each embedded image/media-file an the corresponding information at the bottom of the last page), so that a user has all necessary information directly from the paper also when he's steadily offline. --X:: black ::X (talk) 10:59, 11 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]