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.
If the Internet teaches us anything, it is that great value comes from leaving core resources in a commons, where they're free for people to build upon as they see fit. Lawrence Lessig, Director of Academic and Activist (2001)
Story: A photographer submitted a DMCA notice for a photo of an astronomical phenomenon that was used to illustrate an article on English Wikiversity. They also demanded that we pay them a fine, which they argued was required by the laws of their country. We examined their claims, evaluating the photo’s appearance on Wikiversity and the project’s content and fair use policies. After some research and consideration, we decided to grant the DMCA. However, we refused to acquiesce to their erroneous demands for money.
Story: The Wikimedia community works hard to ensure that all material on the projects is properly licensed. In February, a photographer sent us a DMCA notice requesting the removal of a photo they claimed had been taken from their website. It turned out that the photo was already at the center of an ongoing deletion discussion. We notified them of the discussion, and let them know they could submit a complete DMCA if they wished. But just a few days later, the community decided to delete that photo and a few others that failed to comply with Wikimedia Commons’ licensing policy.
Story: DMCA notices must include certain information. When we receive a notice that is lacking, we ask the requester to provide the missing details. In March, we got a partial DMCA notice from someone who claimed that a picture on Wikimedia Commons had previously appeared on their website. We asked them for the missing information. They replied, but still omitted something important: evidence to demonstrate that they held copyright in the photo. We explained that once they had provided this, we could evaluate their DMCA. They did not respond, and the photo remains on the projects.