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.
Copyright law's perennial dilemma is to determine where exclusive rights should end and unrestrained public access should begin.
Story: We carefully evaluate every DMCA notice we receive, but the job is easier when the requester provides all of the necessary information. Recently, we complied with two DMCA notices from a stock photo agency. One concerned a photo of a red fox, the other a Nepalese mountain. They also requested a third photo be removed, but as is often the case, the community noticed the improper copyright permissions and proactively removed it before we got the chance to. In each case, the agency had followed the template for DMCA requests, facilitating our review and consequently the removal of their content.
Time Period: March 2015
Story: The Wikimedia community is large and diverse, but has many things in common: for example, who doesn’t like getting a barnstar to recognize their good work on the Projects? Unfortunately, we recently received a DMCA request about one of the many barnstar images available across Wikimedia projects. Someone had uploaded a unique 'Home-Made Barnstar' from an arts and crafts site without permission to use the star. We evaluated the request, and removed the image. Don’t worry, though: you can still get a homemade barnstar. There are freely licensed barnstars, like this one, just waiting to be discovered and awarded.
Time Period: January, March, and May 2015
Story: Sometimes, we get takedown requests for websites that we do not operate. In most cases, we explain to the requester that they’ve contacted the wrong party, and don’t hear from them again. But recently, a company sent us three separate DMCA requests, asking that we remove certain allegedly proprietary content from our sites. The problem? Wikimedia is not associated with any of the sites in question. The company apparently thought that all sites that include the word 'wiki' in the URL or use MediaWiki software are Wikimedia projects. We explained that isn't the case, but they continued to send us DMCA notices.