The Wikimedia community is made up of creators, collectors, and consumers of free knowledge. While most material appearing on Wikimedia projects is in the public domain or freely licensed, on occasion, copyrighted material makes its way onto the projects.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provision requires us to remove infringing material if we receive a proper takedown request. We thoroughly evaluate each DMCA takedown request to ensure that it is valid. We only remove allegedly infringing content when we believe that a request is valid and we are transparent about that removal. If we do not believe a request to be valid, we will push back as appropriate. To learn more about DMCA procedures, see our DMCA policy.
Below, we provide information about the DMCA takedown notices we have received in the past and how we responded to them.
A well-functioning copyright law carefully balances the interests of the public in access to expressive works and ... the interests of copyright owners in being compensated for uses of their works.
Story: A film shot by Matt Kandle at the 1932 World Series provides evidence of Babe Ruth's famous “called shot,” in which he gestured to center field before hitting a home run to the same location. The copyright owner sent us a DMCA takedown request regarding a still image from the film used on English Wikipedia. We declined to remove the image on the basis of fair use, citing its extraordinary value in illustrating the famous moment and the educational purpose it serves.
Obama & Mandela Meet
This file cannot be found on Wikimedia projects
Time Period: December 2013
Story: We received a takedown notice for a photo on Commons of then-Senator Barack Obama’s first meeting with Nelson Mandela. Because the photographer David Katz was a federal employee at the time, the photo was believed to be in the public domain. Katz argued the photo was not taken as part of his “official duties” and thus not in the public domain. After an exhaustive factual investigation, we could not find sufficient evidence that photography was one of Katz’s official duties and therefore removed the image. Read more.