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Latest comment: 6 years ago by George Ho in topic My newer comments

From:Wikimedia Forum#New project proposals


Hello all. I have put forward proposals for two new wikis at Userwiki and NonFreeWiki. I think they are somewhat similar to earlier ideas but I would welcome any comments and questions. Green Giant (talk) 16:05, 15 February 2014 (UTC)Reply

I don't think I would particularly like NonFreeWiki, and I would expect much opposition from other users as well. It goes against Wikimedia's mission and its vision of free knowledge for all. Wikimedia Commons is specifically and deliberately set up the way it is, as a free repository of media files; in this context, it has a specific scope as a wiki to develop free media content for its particular audience, like how Wikipedia has a specific scope as a wiki to develop free peer-reviewed informational article content for its particular audience. Wikimedia Commons also has the ability to be reused outside the Wikimedia Foundation, including for commercial purposes, through InstantCommons; NonFreeWiki can afford no such provisions. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 01:42, 16 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
I understand what you mean and ideally we would use only Commons files but the proposal is not about free knowledge. Despite the vision of free knowledge, we still have a very large amount of non-free content on some projects. My proposal is to put it all in one location and stop local uploads at any other wiki. It is better to deal with such content in one place than in 36 locations, where some of the content is effectively duplicated. I am not proposing that we make this content available outside WMF but to rationalise its use within our projects. Green Giant (talk) 15:00, 17 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
In principle I like the NonFreeWiki idea (although not the name, maybe "Fair Use Wiki", although FU Wiki isn't great!) if it leads to better control over fair use material. I can see a few potential issues but I'm not expert enough on non-free media to know if I am right or not. @Stefan2: and other experts in this area might have a strong view. QuiteUnusual (talk) 15:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
To be honest, I don't like the name either but it was the best I could come up with. For the issue of non-free media, I believe all that is needed is for the new wiki to have an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) to host the non-free media and for the other wikis to slightly modify their existing EDP's to enable the use of non-free media from the new wiki. By stopping local uploads it would force people to think more clearly about what they are uploading. Specifically there would be a feature which would prevent such files from being available for use by other wikis until the file had a fair use rationale for each page it would appear on. Read the Resolution on Licensing policy and you'll notice it says that EDP's must be minimal. The idea was to reduce non-free content to an absolute minimum but this is more difficult to enforce on 36 wikis than it would be on a single wiki. In the List of Wikipedias there is a column which shows how many images are held by each wiki. Count the ones with images and you will find there are far more than 36, with at least 80 that host over 1,000 images each. I would be very surprised if the majority of those images weren't fair use. It is almost 7 years since the licensing resolution was passed and yet there are still wikis out there with significant numbers of images but no EDP. I think we have had plenty of time for this issue to be resolved at a local level. This is why we should have a NonFreeWiki. Green Giant (talk) 01:56, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the clarification, I see the points for the wiki more clearly now. I do have at least one concern though: each wiki either has their own EDP, with their own legal language, or simply translate English Wikipedia's EDP and adapt it to their local language project. What do you propose be done with, say, wikis which have EDPs that are more restrictive than that of the English Wikipedia? Differing levels of restrictiveness within EDP language can determine whether wikis would choose to access NonFreeWiki or not, and still must resort to the old practice of local uploads. For example, if the EDP of NonFreeWiki is too lenient, and some wiki EDPs do not permit some media files from NonFreeWiki, they cannot link to it like Wikimedia Commons and would have to resort to local uploading. If the EDP of NonFreeWiki is too restrictive... well I'm not sure what would happen in this scenario, but they probably won't benefit from it as much. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 06:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
@TeleComNasSprVen: thanks for raising this issue. My thoughts are that the proposed wiki would be only as lenient as the most lenient existing EDP allows, which appears to be English Wikipedia, judging by the number of images. Using the example I gave in the proposal, let's say I upload an image of the common face of a 1 Euro coin. The design of such coins is that one face is unique to each country and the other side is a common design used by all countries of the Eurozone. In the proposal I highlighted four Wikipedias that use images of Euro coins, namely French, German, Italian and Russian, although there are some others, but for the sake of the example let's imagine it is just these four. The software would allow me to upload the image and I would have to provide details such as copyright status and where I found the image. However, I would not be able to use that image in any articles until I filled out a fair use rationale for each article (for example the relevant Euro articles) and for each wiki in line with their particular requirements. Somewhere on the file page there would be a button I would click to add one rationale at a time. There would be a dropdown menu to let me select which wiki I wanted to use the file on, so if a wiki did not have an EDP it would be impossible for me to select that wiki. Equally, the software would be programmed to flag any wiki that has a more restrictive policy. On Commons, there is a list on each file page which indicates global usage of that file, and the same would happen on the proposed wiki, except that usage on more restricted wikis would be prominently highlighted to alert anybody who looked at the file. In addition it would build on an existing model, which is that when files are uncategorized or they need categories checking, there is a message that appears on the file page. So on the proposed wiki, file usage on a restricted wiki would place that file in a special category until someone checks that the usage is acceptable.
In my crazy mind, I see it in terms of a new car that someone has bought to use on a daily basis. I know it sounds like the ramblings of a lunatic but it is the best analogy I can give. I'm sure it is pretty much the same in most countries but in the UK every car needs insurance, road tax and a fitness test (called an MOT). For my uploaded file the equivalent would be the copyright status and where I found the image etc. Even then, there are rules about how you use a car, for example the most common restriction is the traffic light system mainly found at junctions of two or more roads. In case it is different elsewhere, we usually have three lights, red for stop, amber/yellow for ready, and green for go. My uploaded file would initially have red lights for all wikis, and even if I tried linking to the image from de:Euro, all I would see is the text that appears when you link a non-existent file. As soon as I fill out a rationale for German Wikipedia, it would give the file a green light and I could then link it from the article. I would then have to fill out another rationale for each of the other wikis before the file could be used there. Now, let's say that I decided to try and link the file from ca:Euro on the Catalan Wikipedia (which appears to have a more restrictive policy), I would be able to complete the form but it would be tailored to the specific needs of ca-wiki. It would allow me to then link from the article but the file would have an amber light to let other users know that this usage needs checking and confirming. Obviously for wikis that only allow Commons files, there would be no option in the rationale form to select such a wiki and if I tried being a hothead and linking anyway, all it would show is a non-existent file. To illustrate the example, the very bottom part of the file page would look something like this, bearing in mind that the section heading would use the normal === on either side:
File usage on other wikis
  • The following other wikis use this file:
  • Usage on ca.wikipedia.org
  • Usage on de.wikipedia.org
If the file has no fair use rationales filled in, then there would be a red light like this () at the top somewhere with a message saying something like: "This file does not have any fair use rationales. It cannot be used on any other wiki until a rationale is provided."
On a higher level, I think it would need some software changes but I might be wrong because I'm not a technical sort of person. I hope that clarifies things but as with any idea, it never comes out perfectly formed in one go.
Just as an addendum, I avoided giving too many numbers in the proposal but I think it is worth noting that there appear to be about 2.2 million files on the various Wikipedias, of which English Wikipedia alone hosts more than 800,000. I don't think it is wrong to suggest that a large proportion of those will be duplicates or effective duplicates. Obviously it is difficult to gauge exactly how many unnecessary files there are but am I wrong to think that we probably have at least a million files that don't really need to be hosted? As a comparison, Commons appears to have more than 20 million files at the moment, which would indicate that about 10% of all the files are non-free content. It is fantastic that 90% are free but it would be more fantastic to be able to say that 95% are free files, if we could just weed out all the duplicates and near duplicates. Green Giant (talk) 12:50, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
I have found a clearer example to demonstrate the scale of the problem. I'm sure we all have fond memories of the 1997 movie "Titanic", so I present these copies of the promotional poster, with some variations but ultimately based on the same image:
  1. am:ስዕል:Titanic_poster.jpg - the wiki has no EDP
  2. az:Şəkil:Titanic_poster.jpg - no EDP
  3. be:Файл:Titanic_3D_Poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  4. bn:চিত্র:Titanic_poster.jpg - developing EDP is similar to enwiki, but non-free images of living people strongly discouraged
  5. bs:Datoteka:Titanic.jpg - no EDP
  6. ca:Fitxer:Titanic_poster.jpg - strongly discouraged for images of living people
  7. ckb:پەڕگە:Titanic_poster.jpg - only admins can upload
  8. cy:Delwedd:Titanic_poster.jpg - no EDP
  9. el:Αρχείο:Titanic_1997_poster.jpg - not allowed to have non-free images of living people
  10. en:File:Titanic_poster.jpg - strongly discouraged for non-free images of living people
  11. eo:Dosiero:Titanic1997.jpg
  12. fa:پرونده:Titanic_poster.jpg
  13. fi:Tiedosto:Titanic_poster.jpg - non-free images of living people are forbidden
  14. ga:Íomhá:Titanic_poster.jpg - no EDP
  15. hi:चित्र:टाइटैनिक_(१९९७_चलचित्र).jpg - no EDP
  16. hr:Datoteka:Titanic_poster.jpg
  17. hy:Պատկեր:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  18. id:Berkas:Titanic_film.jpg
  19. is:Mynd:Titanicplakattvo.jpg - strict limits allow such files only when no free file is available
  20. ka:ფაილი:Titanic_ver2.jpg - no EDP
  21. lt:Vaizdas:Titanic_poster.jpg
  22. lv:Attēls:Titanic_poster.jpg
  23. mk:Податотека:Titanic_poster.jpg
  24. ml:പ്രമാണം:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  25. ms:Fail:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki but with some differences
  26. pt:Ficheiro:Titanic_poster.jpg
  27. ro:Fișier:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  28. si:ගොනුව:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  29. sl:Slika:TitanicDVD.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  30. sr:Датотека:Titanic_poster.jpg
  31. sw:Picha:Titanic_poster.jpg - no EDP
  32. ta:படிமம்:டைட்டானிக்_திரைப்பட_உறை.jpg - EDP still being worked on
  33. tr:Dosya:Titanik_film.jpg - non-free images strongly discouraged for living people
  34. uk:Файл:Titanic_poster.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki
  35. vi:Tập_tin:Titanic_poster.jpg
  36. zh:File:TITANIC.jpg - EDP is similar to enwiki but strongly discourages non-free images of living people
I had to go through 74 articles about the movie to find these images. Clearly a large number of them are problematic, either with no EDP on their wiki or poorly presented attribution or they are hosted on wikis that strongly discourage non-free images of living people. If we have a single wiki for non-free images, we could detect and deal with this kind of problem more easily than at the moment. Instead of 36 images with varying levels of attribution and policy compliance, we could host just one image with full attribution and compliance and then allow it to be linked from a limited number of articles. Green Giant (talk) 17:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
@TeleComNasSprVen: and @QuiteUnusual:, I have tried to create some example pages for a non-free wiki at User:Green Giant/NonFreeWiki. I invite you both and anyone else who is interested to look at them and tell me what you think, even if it is to tell me that I should just pack it all in. Please do excuse the amateurish attempt to replicate pages but there is not much to go on. I look forward to your comments. :) Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 14:59, 23 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • According to wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy, an EDP must be "in accordance with [...] the law of countries where the project content is predominantly accessed (if any)". As different Wikipedia projects are accessed from different countries, this means that different Wikipedia projects need to adopt vastly different EDPs, and some files would only be useable on some projects but not on other projects. See for example Wikilegal/Turkish Wikipedia and Non-Free Content for a discussion of what this means for Turkish Wikipedia. One of the problems you mentioned is that some projects still lack an EDP. A "NonFreeWiki" would not solve this; those projects would still have to come up with an EDP which is in accordance with the law of the countries in which those projects predominantly are accessed. Adopting w:WP:NFCC (or a translation of it) would not necessarily be possible as the United States might not be the only country from which the project predominantly is accessed.
If a project only can use a subset of the files in an image repository but not all of them, this risks making file patrolling more difficult. On English Wikipedia, files can easily be deleted if the file is found not to satisfy the EDP (w:WP:NFCC). On the other hand, if a file is hosted on a "NonFreeWiki", the file may have to be kept on the "NonFreeWiki" project because it satisfies the EDP of the Syldavian Wikivoyage or the Brutopian Wikiversity. On English Wikipedia, the vast majority of EDP violations that I find and report concern files where all uses violate the EDP, and much fewer of them concern files used in two or more articles where the file has to be removed from some but not all of the articles using the file. Also, if a decision is taken to remove a file from some but not articles, I sometimes see that file being re-added immediately afterwards. I would therefore guess, although I'm not sure, that it is easier to manage file usage if a file simply can be deleted for violation of the EDP, and that a NonFreeWiki, which would make the same file useable on many more pages, would make such image patrolling more difficult.
I also note a problem with local images which this project would solve. I sometimes find that a different language edition of Wikipedia has translated an article from English Wikipedia and that the translation refers to files under the same names as on English Wikipedia. This gives ugly red links for those files which have been uploaded locally to English Wikipedia. If they instead had been uploaded to a central repository, the translation would still have contained the correct images.
User:TeleComNasSprVen mentioned mw:InstantCommons and claimed that you wouldn't be able to use that feature for a non-free wiki. I'm not sure that this is correct. I believe (although I might be wrong) that you can use any WMF projects as an "image repository" in the same way as mw:InstantCommons by simply adding a couple of lines to your own wikiproject's mw:LocalSettings.php. However, since non-free files on at least English Wikipedia frequently tend to be deleted (for example because of violation of w:WP:NFCC#7), using a "NonFreeWiki" as an image repository sounds unstable.
Also note that different projects define "free" differently:
  • On English Wikipedia, anything published before 1923 is determined to be "free" (because of United States law). Such content is not necessarily free elsewhere, and such content is not necessarily acceptable on Commons (see w:Template:PD-US-1923-abroad). Using English Wikipedia content in the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia is often illegal because of this.
  • On German Wikipedia, photographs of buildings and statues are usually determined to be "free" if permission has been granted from the photographer (because of German, Austrian and Swiss law). On the other hand, such content is not necessarily free elsewhere (see for example w:Korean War Veterans Memorial#United States postage stamp court case). It is therefore often llegal to use German Wikipedia content in Belgium, Luxembourg and South Tyrol, because of conflicting laws.
  • On Italian Wikipedia, photographs taken more than 20 years ago usually seem to be determined to be free (because of a short term for photographs in Italian law), but such photographs are not always considered to be "free" in other countries (see e.g. the warning about 1976 in it:Template:PD-Italia), and using Italian Wikipedia content is therefore sometimes illegal in Switzerland.
What would this proposal do about files which are considered to be "free" on one project but not on another project? --Stefan2 (talk) 15:30, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • Apologies for the late reply and thank you for your detailed response. I will attempt to address the concerns you have raised. Firstly let me clarify that I’m not proposing that the enwiki EDP should be adopted automatically or that it would necessarily be the best solution. It’s just that it appears to have been used as a model by some of the other wikis, and although I can’t say for certain, the Google translations of the other EDPs suggest that it is the most comprehensive and probably the most lenient EDP yet. The proposed repository would adopt an EDP that would match the most lenient criteria overall, so it could accommodate all the local wikis that choose to allow non-free content.
  • I think seven years is sufficient time for most of the local wikis to have made some progress. The fact that only 36 appear to have adopted an EDP clearly illustrates that we still have a long way to go. The proposed wiki would act as a wake-up call for wikis to either adopt an EDP or switch entirely to Commons files. If a local wiki needs help to formulate an appropriate EDP, they would have a central location for guidelines.
  • The proposed wiki would use a two-pronged methodology to regulate the use of such files. Firstly, after NonFreeWiki was activated, there would be a reasonable period of notice, during which locally-held files could be transferred to the new wiki. Once the notice period was over, those local wikis that haven’t done so already would switch off local uploads. The local wikis would not automatically opt-in to NonFreeWiki but would be able to choose to allow files from NonFreeWiki to be used in their articles.
  • Secondly NonFreeWiki would use a "traffic light system" (patent pending :) ), by which newly uploaded files would initially be barred from being used on any wiki at all. The file page would have a prominent red light marker as well as the file being automatically placed in a special "barred" category. The only way to use the file would be to fill out a fair-use pro-forma for each article, much the same way as is required locally. The difference would be that the form would include a dropdown list of local wikis, and this list would only have those wikis that have adopted EDP’s. Once the user has selected a wiki, the options presented would depend on the restrictions of the local wiki. For instance the English option would present the ten existing criteria but the Catalan option would have the nine criteria that they require and the Russian option would have the seven they require. If the fair use form was fully filled out, it would give a yellow light for that wiki, as well as switching the file to another "rationale-provided" category. The file could then be used in the appropriate article but would need to be checked by someone other than the uploader or the rationale provider, probably at the local wiki. The checking person would go to the file page and click on the yellow light, which would bring up a dialog box with a button to confirm usage. The file usage would then turn either blue (for more restrictive wikis) or green for more lenient wikis, as well as switching the file to one of two "checked" categories.
  • Where a file is found to be contravening local requirements, the remedy would be no more complex than is needed at the moment, e.g. with a Commons file that does not follow requirements. The user could request deletion, or report a possibly unfree file or ask for a review at a forum like Non-Free content review.
  • The problem about different definitions of "free" is one that does not appear to have been solved with the existing system of local wikis either. Short of having individual wikis for each jurisdiction, I don’t see how we could ever resolve such a problem on a purely local basis. The aim with a NonFreeWiki would be to minimise the number of unfree files so that we don’t end up with multiple copies of the same images and potentially reduce the legal liability. If you look at the example I have given in the proposal, the same copyright image (or slight variations) has been used on articles in 36 Wikipedias, with at least 16 of those images on wikis that don’t have EDP’s or ones that strongly discourage non-free images of living persons. I understand the concern about managing files locally but I think this is a serious wider problem that could be more easily managed by a central repository. With these files in a central location, the number of files would be drastically reduced because many will be duplicates or near-duplicates. Equally, we would have greater oversight with more active users able to keep an eye on fewer files.
  • Currently there are 154 Wikipedias that each host more than 100 files each, with a grand total of more than 2.2 million files.. As a comparison the English Wikipedia has 800,000 of those files, with about 130,000 active users. In contrast, the other 153 Wikipedias have 1.4 million files and just 130,000 active users. At the extreme end is Bosnian Wikipedia with 22,000 files and just 169 active users. I believe that by eliminating duplicates and near-duplicates we would be left with significantly fewer files than we currently have. Although not all users are involved with files, overall we would have a larger group of users to help out. In the long term I believe such a repository would result in better regulation of unfree files. The proposed wiki would aim to accommodate them all by having a multilingual interface (similar to the ones we use on Meta and Commons) and by restricting usage through the different fair use pro-formas. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk)
  • Apologies for late reply Stefan2, but I did not receive the ping. To clarify, what I meant was that InstantCommons could not be reused in a legal sense, as you noted other re-user wikis might serve content to different target language-audiences that have an EDP conforming to the local laws of their own home country. From a technical standpoint, InstantCommons could easily be adapted to host NonFreeWiki, but since that wiki hosts copyrighted content, it would serve little purpose as NonFreeWiki is not a "content-building" wiki. --TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 02:19, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Talk:NonFreeWiki#Where do comments go


I don't see a place for others to comment on your proposal. I'm going to just put it here. If you add a comments section, please copy the following to it:

There would be a problem of continuing to host a red-dotted image. I think there would need to be an automatic deletion built in, the same way unused images are tagged for deletion on the English Wikipedia. So I propose an alteration to the red dot explanation saying the image will be deleted in 7 days if no fair use rationale is given. Trlkly (talk) 19:56, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply
Previously, discussion has taken place at Wikimedia Forum#New project proposals. One issue is that projects using files from a "NonFreeWiki" first would have to adopt an EDP before content from the project can be included so that it is ensured that the use of the images is "in accordance with [...] the law of countries where the project content is predominantly accessed", as stated in wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy. --Stefan2 (talk) 21:22, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Trlkly: Thank you for your suggestion, you raise a valid point. I will incorporate it into the proposal. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 19:32, 15 March 2014 (UTC)Reply
Actually there need not be a problem with red-dotted images.
  • If they are not linked to then the only page they are on is the page about the image, and this is fair-use.
  • If we still had trouble we could display only a thumbnail, or a degraded image, or even a description, until either a fair-use requirement arose, or the copyright expired (or the image was released).
Rich Farmbrough 02:39 6 April 2014 (GMT).
Oppose Oppose Why should we have to pay to get information? I can just do a Google search and find what I'm looking for. Why pay for something that you can just find on Google? I am not a fan of this. 2teach4ever 14:54, 9 January 2015 (UTC)Reply

Talk:NonFreeWiki#Fair use vs. non-free


This proposal appears to mix the US legal term fair use with the very broad term non-free. If this is intended to be a international project aimed sites beyond en.wikipedia.org, it seems best to avoid the term fair use as this is a term of US copyright law which has no equivalent concept in European civil law. --AFBorchert (talk) 09:20, 13 March 2014 (UTC)Reply

@AFBorchert: Thank you very much for your suggestion, it is much appreciated. I will change the wording of the proposal to reflect this valid point. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 19:45, 15 March 2014 (UTC)Reply

GZWDer's comments

  1. This wiki is for EVERY images which is used in at least one wiki as fair use, and doesn't meet Common's inclusion criteria
  2. Any wiki rejected fair use images can opt-out, so any images except those described below can't be used in that wiki
  3. It'll probably be a place to host images with commons:Template:Copyright by Wikimedia, commons:Template:Copyright by Wikimedia Deutschland and commons:Template:Copyright by Wikimedia Polska, which can be used in any wikis (without the limit above). See Allrightsreserved; It will make Commons entirely free;
  4. Meta data can be provided in the main namespace

--GZWDer (talk) 14:06, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

  1. @Green Giant: Add one comment: the wiki should comply with EDPs in every wikis. That is, it allows any images which would be used in any wikis. However, images which has no source/license, or not used in any wikis (except images copyrighted by WMF, WMDE, etc) should be deleted.--GZWDer (talk) 15:07, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Some thoughts


I have been suggesting something like this for some time - and not to avoid duplicates, so well done for making this a proper proposal!

I have had a few conversations with various Wikimedians about it, so I acknowledge lots of input.

These thoughts are based on images, but might be applicable to other files.

  • Call it "uncommons.wikimedia.org"
  • It would be allowed to store any file that is not illegal to own
  • Files would be documented in such a way that their use on a particular project would be ascertainable - E.G. freedom of panorama, death + 100 years, Fair use only, etc.
  • Files would be usable by Wikimedia projects, subject to copyright
  • Files could be embargoed either by their copyright owner, or by reference to copyright expiry (maybe thumbnails viewable as an option)
  • Files from Commons which fail Commons tests for freeness, would be moved to Uncommons (This would avoid the situation where a file is moved from a local wiki and rightly or wrongly deleted as unfree - where is may have had a fair use on its original wiki)
  • Logos which sit on Commons and are non-free (but not copyrightable in the US) could be moved to Uncommons.

Rich Farmbrough 02:34 6 April 2014 (GMT).

Note: Very many of the files on en:wp are actually free, and due to be moved to Commons. Rich Farmbrough 02:42 6 April 2014 (GMT).
Some uploaders want to have local copies of their images on the English Wikipedia, so they tag images to keep a local copy. WhisperToMe (talk) 12:55, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Rich Farmbrough: so we should move all free and not URAA images to Commons, and only keep images which can't be stored in Commons in NonFreeWiki.--GZWDer (talk) 04:47, 6 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I only mention this, because the figures you suggested for percentage are probably wrong, it doesn't affect the merits of the case. Rich Farmbrough 23:21 6 April 2014 (GMT).
  • I don't see why a new wiki would be needed to do what could be done with a small shift in Commons policy and mission. Commons could host non-free use files under the EDP of any project. I.e., Commons would adopt an EDP that allows Commons hosting with EDP usage on any wiki. It could create a generic EDP. These files would be tagged machine-readably to satisfy WMF policy for non-free content. Files would be uploaded on Commons with a claim of intended non-free use on [specific wiki pagename]. Commons would then give them X days to set up the page. This is not more complex than what would be needed for the proposal here. It could be handled by bot. I.e, if the page usage does not appear, or does not remain, the Commons file would either be automatically deleted, or tagged for such.
  • On en.Wikiversity, some of us are becoming averse to moving files to Commons because we have seen it happen that a file is moved to Commons, then some glitch in the licensing is uncovered, after years, and the file is deleted -- we didn't even know there was a discussion -- and then we lose an image on which we could have claimed fair, or other legitimate non-free use, but didn't because we didn't think it was necessary, and the Commons delinker bot deletes the link, that's the first we know. Before deleting Commons files, a bot should notify local wikis where a file is used to give them opportunity to claim EDP usage. Commons could then continue to host the file, tagged appropriately to prevent confusion.
    Thus, u mean we should patch an army of "Grey zones" for Wikiversity? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:45, 19 November 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • Commons would remain a repository of files for free use, and it would host some other files as clearly distinguished.
  • There could be value to centralizing non-free use, if the right to independent judgment of the individual wikis is preserved. So the devil is in the details. If Commons is not willing to partition off a non-free upload system, then I would support a collaborative effort somewhat as proposed here, to support the small wikis. Small wikis often turn off upload because of the hassle that can develop with stringent licensing policies. (Copyright issues become arcane and very complex, where even copyright lawyers will disagree.) However, the result is a general, though subtle, lowering of article quality.
  • The WMF resolution licensing policy appears to place "free content" above the value of content. I personally find that questionable, because, quite to the contrary of immediate appearance, it only benefits commercial re-users, by making the job of satisfying the more stringent situation with for-profit users, as with, say, Creative Commons NC licenses, easier for them. Non-Commercial re-users -- i.e, the vast majority of us, providers of free content and process without advertising -- don't have to worry about that. So this benefits, say, Wikia at the expense of the user base, which is expected to work to find unrestricted licenses, or suffer file deletion and massive administrative headaches, even if usage would be totally legal. Nice trick. Not that I have anything against Wikia, I like Wikia. --Abd (talk) 14:25, 13 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • You can try pitching this idea to the Commons community, but this concept was outright rejected from Wikimedia Commons and the admin pointed to their FAQ for your answers. Wikimedia Commons users are in general very principled when it comes to the idea of free content media; for example, at Commons:Requests for comment/MP4 Video, the WMF Multimedia team were given a limited-time license and pitched this proposal: they would allow uploads of MP4 (non-free file format) videos to Wikimedia Commons, which would then be converted instantly to Ogg (free file format) videos for hosting on Commons servers, and then reusers would be able to choose whether to download the original file in MP4 format (which would have re-conversion on download stream) or in Ogg format. This proposal was rejected as clear consensus in opposition; it was not even a close no consensus tie. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 00:04, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • @Abd: I'm not sure what you mean by "partitioning off a non-free upload system", but wouldn't that effectively result in a separate wiki (in spirit, if not in name). Realistically, I don't think Commoners would agree to host unfree files. I can't see the benefit in swamping Commons with 2 million unfree files, when it is already struggling - in the last seven days, Commons has deleted about 14,000 files for various reasons. If it hosted unfree files, it would blur the line between free and unfree and we would have folks arguing that we should keep a photo of X-celebrity or Y-event or even a Z-nobody. The current dichotomy between free and unfree files is essential for slowing down the tidal wave of files that are uploaded every day. Curbing the huge number of unfree files, including but not limited to the seemingly endless duplicates, can be better achieved on a separate wiki without the grey areas that would exist on a mixed Commons. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 10:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • @Rich Farmbrough: Thank you for the suggestions. Uncommons is about as good a name as any, certainly better than the one I came up with. Initially I think it would be more efficient to move all the files from the Wikipedias, even if they've been tagged for movement to Commons. It would be simpler to exchange files between Commons and NonFreeWiki than it would be to exchange between Commons and dozens of Wikipedias. I agree there are probably quite a few files on Commons which don't fit with the guidelines but would be usable in Wikipedia nonetheless. Also, can I ask which percentages you are referring to in your last comment? Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 10:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
"about 10% of all the files are non-free content" Rich Farmbrough 21:50 16 April 2014 (GMT).
Oh that. I based it on 20.7 million Commons files and 2.2. Wikipedia files, but it was just a guess. I don't know how many of the Commons files are unfree and how many of the Wikipedia files are free. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 00:32, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • I agree with TeleComNasSprVen that there is no need for a new wiki. It would be more handy to have only one wiki (adapted "Commons") for both: free and not-free content.--Skorovs (talk) 16:17, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • Ugh. My comment here was taken to Commons and presented out-of-context, not by me. It was removed (not exactly "rejected") by an administrator with the summary, "(pleas read the FAQ.)" As if the author (me) and the proposer there (GZWDer) were not aware that Commons does not now host non-free files, as if there is nothing that could be discussed. What I found in the FAQ was an answer to this question: "Why don't all images from Wikimedia projects get uploaded here by default?"
  • The answer: "Most importantly, some Wikipedias have a less strict licensing policy than Commons, so some pictures that would not be acceptable to Commons may be OK there. Commons does not (and cannot) allow fair use content, as some Wikipedias do: see commons:Commons:Fair use."
  • Commons was created, as far as I understand, to host -- and only host -- free content, content without most usage restrictions, not relying on any fair use claim or "free for noncommercial usage." The question would be presumably presented to the Commons community, whether or not it would take on a separate task, one not in conflict with that original task, that of managing non-free use content. Why Commons and not a separate wiki? Because Commons has the user expertise to understand licensing requirements and has the upload procedures and categorization procedures for images in place. Some content would not be appropriate even for fair use. If Commons does not want that task, and if the community does want to centralize non-free file hosting, then a new wiki would be needed. Commons would be simpler.
  • Seeing that proposal simply deleted was a face-palm moment. That's a page for "proposals," i.e., for something new and different. If something new and different cannot even be discussed, the wiki has become rigid and inflexible. Nothing new, I suppose.
  • I don't necessarily support this proposal, except for wikis that actually want it. But there is nothing illegal about the proposal or, as to hosting this content on Commons, contrary to the intention of the WMF licensing policy. I assume that policy would continue to apply; the shared hosting site would still have procedures in place to satisfy WMF policy as to limiting non-free use. All that would happen is that what is decentralized now, and often not maintained at all, would be centralized for efficiency. In particular, the crucial machine-readable non-free use tagging of non-free files is often not done, for a long time, because the small wikis simply don't have the labor available. Commons, or an equivalent NFW, would handle that routinely, all such files would be immediately tagged, probably by bot. Presumably NFW would have a relatively liberal EDP, but still within WMF policy. --Abd (talk) 21:46, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • The WMF resolution has this:
  • In addition, with the exception of Wikimedia Commons, each project community may develop and adopt an EDP. Non-free content used under an EDP must be identified in a machine-readable format so that it can be easily identified by users of the site as well as re-users.
That was descriptive, as to Commons. However, this is the reality that has appeared: the other wikis are often poor at enforcing license policy regarding non-free content. That includes widespread failure to identify files. Even Commons is poor at it, files may sit there for years, being used in articles and educational resources, then someone spots a defect and the file is toast and articles and resources are damaged. Even if they could have claimed fair use or other non-free use. By centralizing the process, that essential goal would be furthered with increased reliability. I do not believe that the WMF would continue a prohibition of the hosting of non-free content on Commons, because, as matters stand, the policy is being frustrated. There is plenty of non-free content being hosted, cross-wiki with no machine-readable tagging. There is even a fair amount of such content on Commons. How much would take a study, sampling Commons files.
What might change, if NFW was started up, for files in use, is that they might be ported to NFW. However, this wastes time and server filespace. If they were hosted on Commons, and the license defect were found, the file would not be immediately deleted if it is in use. Rather, a process would be started to check for a non-free use rationale. Is an equivalent free file available? Commons doesn't ask that question at this point. It could, if it developed a policy. --Abd (talk) 21:46, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
There's an instruction at the top of Commons:Village pump/Proposals: "If you want to ask why unfree/non-commercial material is not allowed at Wikimedia Commons or if you want to suggest that allowing it would be a good thing please do not comment here. It is a waste of your time. One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: Only free content is allowed. This is just a basic rule of the place, as inherent as the NPOV requirement on all Wikipedias." Clearly they have heard this proposal considered and rejected so many times they're tired of discussing it any longer. Not because they might be inflexible or rigid, to an extent. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 10:07, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

GZWDer's comments 2


Only one wiki is needed for 3 kinds of files unacceptable in Commons:

  1. Files with copyright in orginal countries (Real "non-free"): The method to do with this kind of images is above, Green Giant's idea. Wikis which fair use is unacceptable in (like eswiki) can use none of these images. If a file isn't used in any wikis, it would be deleted.
  2. Files without copyright in orginal countries, but not in the public domain in the United States: For example, a file in the public domain in Spain can be used in eswiki as free files (if consensus accept them) in any pages included project/user pages, and can only be used as non-free files in enwiki (treat them as above). This kind of file wouldn't be deleted if a project accepts it.
  3. Files with copyright by WMF/WMDE/...: These files can be used in any wiki in any pages, unless the project declines to do so. These files will be deleted from Commons if it is moved to NonFreeWiki. This kind of file wouldn't be deleted even though being unused.

This 3 kinds of file would be clearly distinguished.--GZWDer (talk) 06:38, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

New comments

  • I think that the whole point of wikipedia is that it is free and easy to use, and it is available for all who require it's services. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Lying Politician (talk) 19:28, 21 April 2014
  • Limits the availability of information, so I'm against it - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jakesyl (talk) 16:44, 23 April 2014‎

It's a price that we should pay


Hi, the idea of using a global Wiki to reduce the number of duplicated file is technically good, but I have some thoughts about it:

  1. It's against our core principles. I believe our Wiki projects should be all dedicated to free content.
  2. I believe it will encourage users to upload more non-free medias (especially movie screenshots, posters etc), which is contrary to the original purpose.
  3. It will give a hard time for new users who want to upload a file. They might ended up uploading free content to the NonFreeWiki.

I think duplicated content is like a "price" that we should pay for using non-free contents - we have no choice but to accept it. Regarding local Wiki policy, I agree it's a problem. we might have to encourage the local Wiki community to adapt EDP. --Ricky Setiawan (talk) 15:29, 29 April 2014 (UTC) --Ricky Setiawan (talk) 15:19, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

  • Thanks for the comments Ricky. I wholeheartedly support using only free files i.e. if we relied only on Commons. Unfortunately we have these unfree files, which I think many users are simply unaware of the difference, and it is better to handle them in one place than in three dozen places. Also we would considerably reduce the amount of unfree files because we wouldn't need duplicates like the 36 copies in the example above. As for new users, I believe we would need to make it clearer that there is a difference between free content for Commons and unfree content for NonFreeWiki. One of the benefits of a single wiki will be that transferring files will become a little easier because there would be only 2 repositories rather than 100+ at the moment. Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 17:46, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

NonFreedom to preserve Freedom


I would support this idea if, and only if:

  1. file uploading to NonFreeWiki is restricted to trusted users who proved their capability of distinguishing between free (libre) and non-free (proprietary) content, and their knowledge of Fair Use principles;
  2. a freedom-danger warning is displayed on every file description page;
  3. editing and uploading on NonFreeWiki is strongly discouraged if not needed;
  4. files are automatically deleted if no detailed fair use rationale is provided (or if the file remains unused) within a few days;
  5. files are speedily deleted if a free alternative of similar quality is provided;
  6. the final project's mission is to help Wikipedia and sister projects to preserve their freedom, and not to host non-free content permanently.

--Ricordisamoa 02:51, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

  • Hello and thank you for your comment. I think I agree with all of your recommendations but just wanted to clarify some things.
  1. Who would you regard as trusted users? Certainly anyone who already serves as an admin/bureaucrat etc is trustworthy but there are many others who are equally trustworthy. On some wikis there is the auto-patrolled group of users which I believe is usually given to a user that is trustworthy enough that their new articles/uploads don't need to be patrolled. I would rather have this lower limit than an admin-only setup.
  2. Could you expand on what you mean by freedom-danger warning??
  3. Agree completely.
  4. Agree completely, note the change that was made on the recommendation of Trlkly about a seven-day limit.
  5. Agree completely.
  6. Agree wholeheartedly.
Green Giant supports NonFreeWiki (talk) 12:35, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Green Giant:
  1. a group like 'autopatrollers' (not only admins, of course); someone who is already an autopatroller on at least a Wikimedia project should be able to upload files there;
  2. something like "This file is not free. It is hosted under Exemption Doctrine Policy for exclusive use by Wikimedia projects and cannot be reused outside."
--Ricordisamoa 21:22, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
@User:Ricordisamoa: Would this not run counter to the traditional ideas of the wiki, as put forth originally by Ward Cunningham, a website naturally designed to be collaborative and open to interaction to anybody? We would have a closed circle of restricted and highly curated content, and perhaps even more rigorous standards for the curators themselves, certainly nothing like the model of a regular Wikimedia wiki. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 15:51, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
@TeleComNasSprVen: 'restricted upload' does not mean 'more curated than Wikipedia', see #3. I add that on many small Wikipedias the upload right is restricted to sysops or 'uploaders'. --Ricordisamoa 21:22, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Given how commons have been successful, I do not believe trusted users is the correct approach. The unfree wiki would have it's community serving individual wikis that have non-free content. I think trusting the community will yield the correct results. I'd like to not that it would be a bad idea to make uploading difficult. If we do that such files would be uploaded to commons because the new (or over enthusiastic) user wouldn't know better. Perhaps access to the site can be restricted so that only users with a SUL account can view the content. I cannot see any reason why anonymous users would edit such a wiki. -- とある白い猫 chi? 12:51, 7 August 2015 (UTC)Reply

EDP for uncommons


rather than adopt EDP english wikipedia, i would suggest adopting the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Libraries, by American University, with modification for international cases, URAA, FoP Germany ...

  • "Supporting teaching and learning with access to library materials via digital technologies
  • Using selections from collection materials to publicize a library’s activities, or to create physical and virtual exhibitions
  • Digitizing to preserve at-risk items
  • Creating digital collections of archival and special collections materials
  • Reproducing material for use by disabled students, faculty, staff, and other appropriate users
  • Maintaining the integrity of works deposited in institutional repositories
  • Creating databases to facilitate non-consumptive research uses (including search)
  • Collecting material posted on the web and making it available." Slowking4 (talk) 15:29, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply



Just a note: color-blind users should be capable of distinguishing each status icon. --Ricordisamoa 22:46, 31 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

@Ricordisamoa: Yeah! How do color blind people see it? 2teach4ever 19:30, 9 January 2015 (UTC)Reply
We can change the shapes of status icons.--GZWDer (talk) 05:16, 17 January 2015 (UTC)Reply
@2teach4ever: When creating maps I use this tool to check them (should be readable for a majority of cloro blindenesses). It can be used for icons as well. --Ruthven (talk) 06:11, 10 May 2016 (UTC)Reply

What a provocative idea


There is a tremendous amount of social injustice in Wikipedia where English Wikipedia is allowed fair-use images but other Wikipedias are not. It would be very burdensome to ask that other Wikipedias host local versions of fair use images, and having both fair-use and Commons-compatible media on English Wikipedia is confusing as well. It does seem fair to ask why there cannot be a fair-use Wikimedia Commons to share the benefits currently only granted to English speakers.

As one possible next step to this proposal some sort of preliminary research could be proposed at Grants:IdeaLab. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:46, 7 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

By "provocative" I meant that this would disrupt a lot of community standards and historical thought. I did not mean to say that this proposal should provoke any angry response. Perhaps "disruptive and positive" would be a better way to express myself. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:13, 7 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
No, I think provocative is the correct word, because it was always my intention to provoke people into challenging established ideas. You are also correct when you state that en-wiki does seem to benefit the most from the current setup, given that it hosts 800,000 of the 2.2 million unfree images. Green Giant (discuss) 16:25, 7 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

I think we (as a community) risk loosing sight of the reasons behind EDP, it is not to "limit the number" of unfree images, it is to ensure images are used legally. Note that any wiki could reasonably adopt the en:EDP if it can claim not to be predominantly used from a non-US country (en has no predominant use country these past few years). Having said that en: is more restrictive than it need be, and it would be a shame to propagate these restrictions. There are probably about 100,000 images (definitely over 60k) on en: that are labelled as public domain in the US. These too would be good on Uncommons, but could be pro-actively added to any wiki that wants them. Rich Farmbrough 19:31 10 May 2014 (GMT).

The proposal was submitted in Arabic Wikipedia was impressive comment --ديفيد عادل وهبة خليل 2 (talk) 11:34, 3 July 2014 (UTC)Reply

Why reinvent the wheel


I agree with most of what you say, with the with the exception of creating a new project. Go with what we have, As you say many of the fair use images in the other projects will be duplicates of, or could be substituted by the images held as fair use in en:Wikipedia. Just ask for a software tweak that will allow the other language projects to be able to use en:Wikipedia's version of a file directly.--KTo288 (talk) 13:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)Reply

We should also store meta-data of fair use files.--GZWDer (talk) 10:40, 25 August 2014 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure that a NonFreeWiki could even be legally built. It would be, by definition, a collection of non-free images, i.e, one big copyright violation. An image may be fair-use when used in context on a Wikipedia page, but surely not when added to a large repository of other such images. I.e., NonFreeWiki would need to be looked at as a publication in its own right, presumably accessable to anyone on the Internet. Ghouston (talk) 23:04, 27 August 2014 (UTC)Reply
KTo288 - I did consider the idea of just using enwiki but we already have a huge systemic bias towards English. We have multilingual wikis like Commons, so it seemed only natural to have a multilingual wiki for this purpose. As for your first question, the wheel has been re-invented many times because modern vehicles don't use wooden wheels like our great-grandparents generation did. :P Green Giant (talk) 08:01, 31 August 2014 (UTC)Reply
GZWDer - agreed. Green Giant (talk) 08:01, 31 August 2014 (UTC)Reply
Bravo- need to rethink my list of rhetorical one liners.--KTo288 (talk) 22:29, 2 September 2014 (UTC)Reply
Ghouston - we currently have several large copyright violations with wikis that host such images without an exemption doctrine policy. Although we say "using an image on an article", really what happens is that we add a link to the file so the image isn't actually on the article, but is displayed as if it were. So if there is a fair-use image that has rationales for two or more articles, all the system does is display the image in two or more places but there is still only one copy of the file on that wiki. The problem we have is that Wikimedia as a whole has multiple versions of such files because the wikis that use them have to have a separate copy. In the example I gave at the top of this page, we had 36 copies of the same or similar movie poster used on 36 articles about the movie, each on a separate wiki. Theoretically if someone came up with a rationale to use the enwiki file on another article in addition to the Titanic article, then we would still have only 36 copies but 37 places where the image is displayed. Gathering them in one place would mean that legally we would have one copy that could be displayed 20 times (bearing in mind that 16 of the wikis don't yet have the required policies) and Wikimedia-wide usage could be monitored more easily. Any Commons file page will show where the file is being displayed on other wikis such as enwiki, so the same would happen on the proposed NonFreeWiki. Maybe nobody might have noticed that we host 36 copies of the Titanic poster and that 16 of those copies don't have a legal leg to stand on, but movie studios are wealthy corporations that would not take kindly to so much overuse of their intellectual property. Please also note that the existing fair-use images are available for download anyway in the same way as free images, so having them on a single wiki will not affect this accessibility. Green Giant (talk) 08:01, 31 August 2014 (UTC)Reply

Interesting idea , but...


Comment CommentI am actually quite interested with your idea. At the current state , Commons is quite bad in the fact that it blocks the upload of non free images(I've many got deleted by this) , and I was forced to obtain local access on Wikibooks instead. Considering this , your idea seems promising in the sense that it provides for a location to upload non-free images.

But , instead of this , we could incorporate your proposed features of the new wiki into Commons. I for one find your coloured icons interesting , maybe with a little modification for free images , it is good. I think that it is better for Commons to have non-free support than a new wiki for that. It could also cause confusion.

Weak oppose Your idea is nice , but I think it is better to intergrate it with what we have instead. --Leaderboard (talk) 19:28, 28 February 2015 (UTC)Reply

In an ideal world we would just need one media repository. However, Commons will almost certainly never accept these files, which is why we need a second more restricted repository. As for the icons, you can see a similar(-ish) system in Wikisource. If you click on the edit tab of a random transcription (e.g. Games for Halloween 1912), there is a small set of coloured radio buttons for the proofreading/validating. If and when this wiki is implemented I would imagine file pages would have something similar. Green Giant (talk) 01:30, 2 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
Okay , got your idea , but wouldn't a user be confused if he is to choose when uploading an image whether to upload it to Commons or NonFreeWiki? Maybe we could start a debate on Commons itself about this...--Leaderboard (talk) 16:11, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
Well one of the obstacles to uploading is that the Commons Upload Wizard is always breaking down, but I was thinking that it work be a good starting point. The first set of options asks where your images are from. I think the Wizard could be modified so that the file would be uploaded to either Commons or NonFreeWiki. Additionally there are a number of tools like CommonsHelper which could be adapted so that free and unfree files could be transferred between Commons and NFW. As for discussion on Commons, you are welcome to try but I'm not sure of the reception you'll get. Green Giant (talk) 16:21, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
Note that w:WP:File Upload Wizard sometimes uploads files to Commons instead of English Wikipedia. --Stefan2 (talk) 16:29, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
A good example of how broken it is. Green Giant (talk) 03:15, 6 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
User:Green Giant , can you assist me in attempting a discussion on Commons? The main help desk seems to disallow discussions of that nature. You're a Commons admin , so I think you could help.--Leaderboard (talk) 17:14, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply
Aye, but being an admin gives no special status. I sincerely doubt you would get very far with a discussion on Commons, because similar questions have been raised before, most recently April 2014. That said, I'm not sure what the next step should be. In fact I have no idea what has to be done to move a proposal on because the proposal system seems broken. It is clearly a contentious issue and although there is some support above, I don't think it is enough to push the issue. Ideally I would like to send a mass message to see if we can get participation from some of the other projects but I'm not sure that would be allowed. Green Giant (talk) 03:15, 6 March 2015 (UTC)Reply

How does an irresistible force move an immovable object?

  • Very slowly.

I have recently, because of some Wikiversity issues, become involved on Commons and have been watching many discussions and participating in a few. I was aware of this proposal before, but had not fully considered the overall structural issue. Commons was conceived and implemented as a repository of freely-usable media files. Watching Commons, now, I see a community that is routinely uncivil, factions in conflict, because it is a setup for that: often-complex decisions to make, differing motivations, and black and white decisions: host or no-host. There is no compromise possible on Commons.

So, then, there are fair use files hosted individually on many wikis, as shown above. Now, consider this from the point of view of a copyright holder. Each of those files may be hosted with a different rationale. They may have different filenames and may or may not properly credit the copyright owner. The local wikis don't have the expertise or labor, often, to make sure that all this is done properly, including reducing resolution, perhaps. In addition, there are NC files where there is no legal obstacle at all to hosting, for educational purpose. It would be highly useful and obviously much more efficient for all this to be handled centrally.

And it is obvious where that would be done. Commons. Commons mission would not change, it would be expanded, and in a way that could easily reduce conflict on Commons and the cross-wiki disruption that file deletion causes when Commons deletes files in use.

The precautionary principle on Commons would apply to files without a machine-readable tag that identifies them as non-free or possibly non-free. (The same as EDP requires). Further, Commons has the expertise to handle some issue of fair use, i.e., for example, reducing file resolution. The specific application would be up to local wikis, as it is now. In addition, what is presently deleted there could be reduced to a thumbnail so it can be seen and compared with new uploads. Commons would be, then, in addition to its present mission, a universal media file host for WMF wikis, with inclusive policies for anything with a warning tag on it. And exclusive, precautionary policies for anything untagged. And, yes, file uploads to the individual wikis would be disallowed.

I dislike this idea only for one reason: I do not like the loss of autonomy that could be involved.

It is possible that the present Commons community would strongly resist this proposal, but I don't know that it has ever been presented in a fully-developed form that would address all the obvious concerns. Many discussions have focused on use by the encyclopedias. At Wikiversity, our mission is education, and that includes the education of users, it's called "learning by doing." Wikiversity is high inclusion, by design. We organize content, rarely deleting it if it is of any possible use to anyone, including the author. Years ago, I came across a "vandal." I recognized the editing of this person as being that of someone very young. I was right. He was 7 years old. He was being blocked and banned and one of his accounts was globally locked. I intervened, and showed him how he could create his pages, pretty much whatever he wanted, in his own user space, as "essays." He was very smart kid, he had figured out how to avoid blocks by rebooting his modem, and he used a school computer as well. However, he responded, he learned to be cooperative, in spite of a few mistakes, and he is now, about four years later, a WMF sysop. Wikiversity is for education, unlike the other wikis, which are about content.

We need to start thinking about how to reduce conflict. The encyclopedic mission almost guarantees conflict, if there is no efficient dispute resolution process that seeks true consensus. And, then, there are structural decisions to be made, and the nature of the wikis has created highly conservative communities that want no changes. After all, users have worked in this system for years and many like things the way they are, for fairly obvious reasons.

However, the WMF as a whole hosts and will continue to host "copyvio" and the structure has this be spread out, disorganized, and poorly curated. Centralizing it will improve the quality, insure better license information, reduce redundancy, and, best of all, reduce conflict.

The case I've been working on re Wikiversity is of a user who created media of himself or of his work as an earthquake engineer, a professor. He's almost eighty years old. He created exercise videos, as one example. Because he was in the videos, these were considered improperly licensed. He was, like many users seeing years of work trashed, cranky, and especially cranky at being called a "liar," because he claimed "own work." But WMF legal opinion has been issued that "bystander selfies" are, in fact, owned by the subject, though there are Commons administrators who believe otherwise. So, his files deleted on Commons, he's uploading them to the individual wikis. Redundantly, multiple uploads, wiki by wiki, in place of his single original upload. New filenames. This would all be unnecessary if the overall WMF media file policy were carefully developed. On Wikiversity, there has been a growing awareness that uploading files to Commons is to risk their deletion. Bots have moved files in use to Commons, which were then deleted because, after years, some problem with the license was discovered. To get these files back then takes substantial labor and administrator time. In investigating cases, I not uncommonly find that the deletion was in error, ultimately. And then more work is needed to undo it. If it were just a tagging, hardly anyone would care. If the uploader doesn't like it, there would be the same appeal process as now, only over an edit, not a deletion.

If a file is tagged non-free, and if anyone cared, talk page messages could be left that a file status changed. (Right now, uploading users are notified on Commons of pending deletions, but the uploading user may be long-gone, or the file may have been moved to Commons by a bot, and then locally deleted, which is often done, since it is supposedly unnecessary to host the file locally, and those who have used files and the wikis where they are hosted are not notified at all. The only clue is when Delinker shows up and yanks the links.

Commons would remain "a database of 25,208,225 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute," as it claims today. In fact, very many of those files are not necessarily freely usable. But users rely on that claim to create project content, and then the work is destroyed, often for highly technical, sometimes counter-intuitive reasons. The hosting on the individual wikis, almost always, is legal under fair use (or noncommercial use). The placement of a restriction tag ("non-free") on Commons would not cause any disruption, and most users would not care. Existing WMF policy would not change, to encourage the usage of free files.

So, how to move the sleeping giant, Commons? The idea is to expand the mission. The files are already in the database, merely hidden. In the case of clear copyvio, they might be replaced with thumbnails, properly tagged. (I'm thinking of thumbnails that are adequate to identify the image.) Original license information and source provided with the upload would not be hidden, as happens now. (Files have been re-used elsewhere, then deleted on Commons and so original file information is lost as far as public access is concerned.) As far as I can see, it all gets better, and the only real argument I see here is that Commons would never allow this. Commons would also not allow a popular administrator to be globally banned without notice, etc. Commons is part of the WMF structure, it is also an intrinsic part of its mission. What I expect, in fact, is for Commons to participate in a "nonfreewiki" discussion, toward making sure that all Commons considerations are respected.

The same labor, the same skills, now applied to deletion activity, can be directed to organization, which is highly useful, tagging non-free material. If there is conflict over that, page protection can resolve it, an admin action much less damaging and much more transparent than deletion. --Abd (talk) 16:20, 28 March 2015 (UTC)Reply

I don't think Commons will agree to host these files. You are welcome to try but I'll be surprised if you get a positive response. Before I wrote this proposal, I considered proposing it as a Commons sub-project but I could not work out a way of overcoming the "free-to-reuse" basis of Commons. Of course the reality is that people download and reuse unfree files from Wikipedia but this idea does not fit well with the ethos of Commons. I genuinely believe that it was a mistake to have allowed local hosting of files once Commons began to operate. NonFreeWiki should have been started at the same time as either a Commons sub-project or a separate wiki in its own right. I disagree with the idea that local autonomy would be lost because you can always add local descriptions to Commons files and there is no reason why that couldn't happen with unfree files. We can't change the past but we can influence the future and I remain convinced that the future is NFW, working closely with but separate from Commons. The skills issue is easily solved by appointing temporary admins and bureaucrats from interested, current and active Wikipedia admins and Commons admins. This would be similar to the approach taken by Wikidata when it began operating, and I think a significant number of the current Wikidata admins began as temp admins. Perhaps six months after starting, procedures could be put in place for appointing future admins. I'm not sure about other Wikipedias but on English Wikipedia, I can think of a handful of admins and other users who regularly work in the file areas. In this way there would be a good mix of temp admins and anyone interested in carrying on could go through an admin selection process. Similarly there are many trusted users such as file movers and license reviewers that I'm sure would love to help. On a side note, file deletion could be made less combative - a rename of the procedure to something like "File review" would take the sting out of "Deletion requests". Furthermore, with a NonFreeWiki, we could have files being moved between it and Commons rather than Commons and 80 wikis. There is currently also an interesting bot being redeveloped by Fae, which I believe could play an important role if it only had to operate between two wikis rather than 81.
  • As for your comment about globally banned users, I think the reluctance to act stems from the lack of a clear community-based banning procedure. None of us really knows why any of those users were banned and it is pointless speculating. To me the obvious solution is for stewards and/or ombudspeople to be involved before someone is banned together with a clear method of appealing bans, considering we already trust stewards/ombudspeople with "full access" oversight and checkuser capabilities. Sure there is the possibility of legal action but that is something already considered because steward-candidates have to identify themselves to the WMF. I'm not sure if the WMF keeps records of identification, of even whether it is legally allowed to keep such records, but that is an issue for later. Green Giant (talk) 13:13, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Green Giant. I don't think I mentioned any globally banned users, the recent WMF global bans are a completely different issue. I mentioned one user, one of whose accounts was globally locked. The user was not globally banned.
There is a problem with a separate non-free wiki: it requires a software change (for searching an alternate wiki source). It also requires interwiki transfer whenever there is a shift in license status, far more complex than with a single wiki. It's not that it can't be done, it can.
Commons is stuck in a rut. It is damaging the WMF family of wikis, and that's obvious. I started working on Commons, recently, because of the impact I saw on Wikiversity.
So it may not be entirely up to "Commons." However, I disagree that the real Commons community will oppose an expansion of the mission, given that it is very likely to massively reduce disruption on Commons. Rather, there is a core of users who are quite happy with a situation that gives them power. It's a classic problem that creates an obstacle to change from status quo. It is possible to overcome.
Yes, there are separate wiki solutions, that's not impossible, but Commons should be presented with the opportunity to choose.
Issues are frequently decided based on how they are framed. If the choice is "Commons hosts non-free content" vs. "Commons does not host non-free comment," that could produce one result (an obvious one: NO). If the choice is "Commons hosts non-free content (under stated policies) or a separate wiki hosts it," the choice might be quite different. What I'm suggesting is that a proposal be developed that would have a chance of being adopted by Commons, and unless there has been a developed proposal, well-presented, we do not know how the Commons community will respond. What I see above is that you are ready to give up before trying. I recommend dropping that, focus on the vision and the possibilities.
This issue, to my knowledge, has always been presented as Commons should host non-free content, such as NC files, etc., and especially fair use. While that is a way of describing the proposal, it leads, then, to a host of knee-jerk responses, as if the Commons mission is being changed. It's not being changed, something is being added, and very specifically, something that would make Commons more functional *with respect to free content.*
Example from today: commons:Template:SIA-no known copyright restrictions. There are Commons users -- including administrators -- who firmly believe that their interpretations of copyright law and the precautionary principle are sounder than the judgments of professionals and copyright lawyers (I can cite other examples, easily). The result is constant disruption, as what is, by any reasonable standard, free content, is either deleted or is kept only after substantial argument. Users are driven away, disgusted. At the same time, there is plenty of improperly licensed content on Commons. The constant black-and-white decision-making leads Commons to be the most uncivil major environment in WMF wikis. Shifting to categorization rather than keep/delete would, I'm quite confident, reduce this. (And true copyvio would still be deleted, but that is far less controversial).
There are two separate issues. One is whether or not NFW should exist within the WMF family, so that all the wikis may share images instead of what you quite correctly point out, the mess. The other is whether or not that should be integrated with Commons or separate.
Given that Commons is already set up to curate images, that no software changes would be needed if it is integrated, that copyright expertise is needed, which is present on Commons, I obviously favor integration.
However, an NFW working group can be set up to develop how an NFW would work. This working group would consider both options; procedures would merely be a bit simpler if there is integration with Commons, and implementation could simply be a matter of Commons approving the proposal (I believe. The WMF might have an opinion). If there is a mature proposal and Commons actually rejects it, then the separate wiki may be pursued, and the work will not have been wasted. --Abd (talk) 17:46, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Probably wouldn't help


A majority or large minority of the images hosted on en-wiki, at least, are out of copyright in America, but not internationally. These are free, to an extent, and really shouldn't be lumped into a nonfree wiki, where they'd likely be scaled down automatically. Nor can they be hosted on Commons without changing Commons' license.

Further, a repository of non-free content, with no mitigating articles on the repository, is dodgy legally. Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:10, 3 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

It's not dodgy. Under U.S. law, which is what applies to the WMF servers, for a non-profit, and in practice, any image may be hosted legally, unless it is known that the copyright owner objects. "Fair use" is a defense against a take-down order, actually. No take-down order, no need for "fair use," leaving only willful copyright violation (deliberate attempt to defeat copyright) illegal, and the illegality there would not be on the part of the WMF, but of the user attempting to defeat copyright, the case law against hosts has only involved deliberate conspiracy and profit from the hosting.)
Right now, I can google a topic and see many copyrighted images as thumbnails. If that's "dodgy" for Google, a for-profit corporation, why isn't someone getting rich by suing them for this?
Automatic scale-down is not necessary, but may be done. That is, high-resolution images might be deleted, leaving only the low-res for use in articles (and many web uses). If a higher-res version is needed, that could be requested from any admin, but this would be unusual, and copyright could be considered. Indeed, owners of copyrights might like to see thumbnails of their work hosted, with links to where full resolution images may be licensed. If they don't like it, there is always a DMCA order.
I've become active on Commons and see that much -- maybe most -- of the disruption and argument there could be avoided if Commons were to allow tagged non-free files, as an expansion of the mission. Instead of debates becoming keep/delete, they would become tag non-free/don't tag, and that would be resolved with ordinary editing. That is, the accumulated copyright expertise on Commons would still be used, Commons would remain a repository of free files, debates would become less acrimonious. Admin tools would then be used more for protection than for deletion, for maintaining civility and orderly process.
I see massive benefit to the wikipedias from this. The extant reality is that many, many non-free images are being hosted, it is largely unregulated, and is spread out over the wikis that allow fair use. As well, there are many actually non-free files on Commons, because the process there doesn't reliably check every file. If Commons took on non-free files, incoming files could be tagged non-free by default! ("Non-free because not demonstrated to be free, with agreement by a File Reviewer.") Thus the Precautionary Principle would be implemented fully, instead of halfway, in hindsight, often years later. Yet those files tagged non-free could be used immediately on any of the projects.
As proposed here, it could be a separate wiki, but that would create much unnecessary process complication. --Abd (talk) 13:57, 3 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
Adam, this is something that few people seem to be aware of. The "local upload" is a false friend because the file information page is local but the actual image is located at "upload.wikimedia.org", albeit in separate folders for different wikis. Even the 27 million (free/unfree) Commons files are actually located in that same store. We perpetuate this idea of local uploads because such images will be used only on the local wiki but frankly it's a big fat lie and it should not be used as an excuse to avoid legal responsibilities. The Board of Trustees appear to be either unaware of the situation or choose not to focus on it, because none of them have deigned to reply to my question on their noticeboard (it is Q.13, which might be unlucky for me). Green Giant (talk) 10:23, 6 August 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Green Giant: Alright, fine, but en-wiki allows upload of content that is out of copyright in America, but not its source country; Commons does not. This is a complete blocker to your proposal, as huge amounts of work would be left homeless under your proposal, or, worse, redefined as non-free, even though it was at least partially free, and downscaled. On Edglish Wikipedia's featured pictures a decent chunk are of the America-free-only type, all these would be permanently lost to the world. Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:12, 14 August 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Adam Cuerden: I believe d:Q12189802 should also be migrated to the NFW for this case. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 23:22, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Liuxinyu970226: That's completely the opposite situation to what I'm talking about. I'm talking about things like en:File:Cherubini, Luigi - Medea - Restoration.jpg where we can host a full-size version on en-wiki, as it's free in the US, but not in its country of origin, thus forbidding it from upload to Commons. All the work on such things, all the high-def copies, and all the work would be lost if these were reclassed as fair use. Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:02, 21 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Which wiki should still keep local uploading?


I think no wiki should be this, unless if someone says some files should only fair used on that wiki, but not on other wikis. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 23:10, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply

And I think every wiki should continue to have the right to enable or disable local uploads. NFW would be a way to share these. A wiki might choose to avoid the hassle of local supervision. Or it might choose to allow something that, for whatever reason, is disallowed at NFW. The WMF always has veto power, it can always remove illegal content, but there is a vast grey area. Unless NFW will clearly host any non-free file approved by any of the wikis, then local wikis should have the ability to bypass NFW, and this is all very simple if Commons hosts NFW. Those pages would all be tagged as not "free." The purpose of Commons (hosting content for free re-use) would not be frustrated, it would simply be naturally expanded. In fact, I'd expect this to avoid much current Commons disruption. Tagging a file as "non-free" is much less likely to upset the uploader than deleting it.
Right now, we see clearly usable files for Wikiversity, sometimes that have been moved to Commons, that, years later, are discovered to have some real or alleged defect in license. Without any notice to those who have used the file, Commons deletes it, the upload information is hidden, not even a thumbnail remains (except for a little while in Goggle cache), and a bot comes by and removes links. Work is lost. And figuring out how to fix this can be tedious. All for what purpose? How would it harm the design purpose of Commons to add this additional purpose? The bot would tag the page that the image may need a non-free rationale.
The policies were written mostly assuming encyclopedic articles as the purpose of the wiki, but Wikiversity also has a "learning by doing" purpose, and users and user education are important on Wikiversity. Non-free rationale description in policy from the WMF implies only mainspace for non-free content, but Wikiversity has a lot of content developed by students in their own user space, only some of which is later moved to mainspace. The "free content" goal can interfere with other purposes of the wiki, the ones that are actually most promoted and most attractive to the world population. "Free to read" is very important. "Free to re-use" really only impacts -- for the most part --for-profit potential hosts. We've been sold a bill of goods. --Abd (talk) 21:09, 30 August 2015 (UTC)Reply
There are reasons to allow wikis to upload images locally. Vast majority would not have many files though since local uploads would not have an incentive. Why upload something that is already available? -- とある白い猫 chi? 18:25, 2 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
@とある白い猫:Well, I'm planning to migrate these local Fair Use files to NFW when created. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:34, 3 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
With community approval, sure. We should be very careful in NOT creating more work for others and make sure they understand what we would be doing. We naturally need their blessing too. -- とある白い猫 chi? 17:51, 3 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Moving my lengthy comments from "interested people" subpage

Collapsing my past arguments favoring the proposal from NonFreeWiki/interested people; going to make newer comments. --George Ho (talk) 12:50, 1 January 2018 (UTC)Reply

Weak support. Please do. This is more like Commons's non-free sister project but more convenient. One non-free image in all wikis may, but some local images may be nontransferable. When this project opens, I may need to transfer some to there. By the way, can it allow UK artworks that are ineligible for US copyright? --George Ho (talk) 09:15, 13 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

-- I didn't realize that this proposal could block all local wikis from uploading non-free content. I was too blind and optimistic about NonFreeWiki without realizing that blocking all wikis is part of the whole proposal. While I still support this proposed project, after reading opposing arguments and then re-reading the whole proposal, including the "Solution" section, I changed from "Support" to "Weak support". However, the proposal should be revamped, or it may fail to impress the whole consensus. If the consensus becomes 50/50, that would indicate failure of the proposal. I still believe that we can have a central project that can control non-free content without eliminating local autonomy or authority. Hopefully, either the proposer, the Legal Team or the Board of Trustees can reconstruct this proposal and either make another similar proposed project or revamp the content page. Otherwise, until the "blocking all wikis" is eliminated as part of the proposal, I can no longer fully support this (but still can "weak support" it). --George Ho (talk) 03:43, 16 May 2017 (UTC)Reply
-- Switching to "slightly support". On one hand, I thought blocking all wikis from uploading non-free content oversteps the boundaries of local jurisdictions. On the other hand, I still wonder whether a local authority is any different from central authority. I can still imagine that NonFreeWiki would forbid content that has commercial interests just as local wikis do. Even the Foundation and its projects still treat paid editing like a serious issue. I predict that NonFreeWiki might treat "paid editing" the same as other wikis in contrast to Commons, which currently does not require disclosure there. --George Ho (talk) 18:04, 20 May 2017 (UTC)Reply
-- Switching to Support Support. From what I see, local wikis seem to lack sufficient resources to interpret fair use and copyright appropriately. No offense, but Wikinews language sites have small(er) communities, so copyright experts are very hard to recruit for those sites. Same may be said for other non-Wikipedia projects whose communities are small(er). However, size is not the only issue. I can discuss Wikipedia language sites whose communities decent or huge communities, like English Wikipedia. However, I'll provide examples when some enWP discussions are done/closed. --George Ho (talk) 00:34, 18 November 2017 (UTC)Reply
-- The en.WP discussion ended as "no action" at this time, even when the community agrees that copyright violations are impermissible. I thought that the discussion would lead me to fully support the proposed project. However, apparently, the whole en.WP community knows which content does or does not belong. Still, I really think that, without a central project to handle non-free content, removing files and tagging them as orphaned are nauseating and nerve-wrecking, especially to uploaders. Nevertheless, removing files has been common, and we have a bot tagging unused files as orphaned, leading to hundreds of transclusions. Meanwhile, the Proposed Deletion template for files is less used than it should be. Also, the FFD process has usually very little participants right now, so I wonder whether deletion discussions in the proposed project would suffer the same. The project should need something similar to en.WP's 7-day PROD process. (Before the File PROD, the FFD process was severely backlogged.) --George Ho (talk) 11:55, 12 December 2017 (UTC)Reply

My newer comments


I wanted to re-support the whole proposal right away. However, I was convinced by "Oppose" side that this proposal may not hold up well as is or may need some restructuring. Also, it's been almost four years, yet it's not established. I pondered about how the proposal would affect local wikis, but I guess there are too plenty, especially for English Wikipedia. Also, the "blocking local uploads" idea needs to be done away with or something as it's too contrived or too technically complicated or something.

I hate having no re-proposals (or no restructuring) or re-brainstorming if no one else would bother to pursue this central project idea again, but then I wonder whether it's worth re-proposing this idea if this proposal fails. Without another central project handling non-free multimedia content, we are left with local wikis handling copyright on their own. However, I'm no longer sure whether we would be better off without the central project as some local wikis, especially small communities, are not well equipped to handle copyright. --George Ho (talk) 23:17, 1 January 2018 (UTC)Reply

-- Update: As announced at NonFreeWiki/interested people, there is NonFreeWiki (2), a probably better alternative. --George Ho (talk) 08:34, 3 January 2018 (UTC)Reply