Wikimedia press releases/Facts & Figures/Commons
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Wikimedia Commons is a media repository that is created and maintained not by paid-for artists, but by volunteers. Its name "Wikimedia Commons" is derived from that of the umbrella project "Wikimedia" managing all Wikimedia projects and from the plural noun "commons" as its contents are shared by different language versions and different kinds of Wikimedia projects. Thus it provides a central repository for freely licensed photographs, diagrams, animations, music, spoken text, video clips, and media of all sorts that are useful for any Wikimedia project.
Wikimedia Commons uses the same wiki-technology as Wikipedia and thus everyone can edit it easily and without advanced technical skills directly in the web browser. Unlike media files uploaded on other projects, files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons can be embedded on pages of all Wikimedia projects without the need to separately upload them there.
Launched on September 7, 2004, Wikimedia Commons hit the 1,000,000 uploaded media file milestone on 30 November, 2006 and currently contains 1,215,836 files and 55,835 collections (numbers in English notation). More background information about the Wikimedia Commons project itself can be found in the General disclaimer, at the Wikipedia page about Wikimedia Commons and its page in Meta-wiki.
Unlike traditional media repositories Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long the source and the authors are credited and as long as users release their copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The Wikimedia Commons database itself and the texts in it are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description pages. More information on usage conditions...
The Commons:Licensing page attempts to give non-lawyers an overview of complicated copyright laws through an example-based tutorial. It aims to help decide if one is allowed to upload a certain image or other media file within the Wikimedia Commons.
The Wikimedia Commons only accepts free content, that is, images and other media files that can be used by anyone, for any purpose . The details are explained below. The Wikimedia Commons does not accept fair use; see below for the reasons. Commons also does not accept noncommercial-only content.
The license that applies to an image or media file must be indicated clearly on the image description page using a copyright tag. All information required by that license must be given on the description page. The information given on the description page should be sufficient to allow others to verify the license status. It would be best to do this immediately in the summary field on the upload form.
If you request permission from a copyright holder please use only the Email template to do so.
Wikispecies is available in 131 different languages which are also licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
The Wikimedia Commons (also called "Wikicommons") is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. Like Wikipedia, it is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. It provides a common resource repository to all the various Wikimedia sister projects in any language.
The files uploaded to the Commons repository can be used like locally uploaded files on all other projects on the Wikimedia servers in all languages, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wikinews, or downloaded for offsite use, as all of the content is either in the public domain or released under free licenses such as the GNU Free Documentation License.
The project was proposed by Erik Möller in March 2004 and launched on September 7, 2004. A key motivation behind the setup of a central repository was a desire to reduce duplication of effort across the Wikimedia projects and languages, as the same file had to be uploaded to many different wikis separately before the Commons was created. The technical feature to use any file from the Commons on any Wikimedia project was implemented and enabled in October 2004, which led to rapid adoption of Commons as a repository. The project logo was created by Reid Beels, who had initially submitted it to a logo contest for Wikinews. It was entered into the Commons logo competition, which it won, and was officially adopted in November 2004. 
In April 2005, Directmedia Publishing, a Berlin company which also publishes a German language edition of Wikipedia on DVD, donated a collection of 10,000 reproductions of public domain paintings to Wikimedia Commons, which were uploaded together with metadata about the art and its creators. 
On May 24, 2005, Wikimedia Commons reached a milestone of 100,000 uploaded media files (excluding thousands of weather and market data images for Wikinews). It also received an honorary mention at the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica awards in May 2005. 
Over time, additional functionality has been developed to interface Wikimedia Commons with the Wikimedia projects. Daniel Kinzler (known in the Commons community as "Duesentrieb") wrote applications for finding appropriate categories for uploaded files ("CommonSense"), determining the usage of files across the Wikimedia projects ("CheckUsage"), locating images with missing copyright information ("UntaggedImages"), and relaying information about administrative actions such as deletions to the relevant wikis ("CommonsTicker"). Lack of cross-project communications has sometimes caused friction within the Wikimedia community, and many recent development efforts have focused on improving communications and decision-making processes.
Specialized uploading tools and scripts such as "Commonist" have been created to simplify the process of uploading large numbers of files. In order to review free content photos uploaded to Flickr, users can participate in a collaborative external review process ("FlickrLickr"), which has resulted in more than 8,000 uploads to Commons.