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Rules of thumb
Here's a quick checklist of rules for use of images. After the list, a more detailed discussion explains the reasoning behind them.
- Keep copyrights in mind when uploading images.
- Use the image description page to describe an image and its copyright situation.
- Use a clear, detailed title. Note that if any image with the same title has already been uploaded, it will be replaced with your new one.
- Upload a high-resolution version of your image whenever possible, and use the automatic thumbnailing option of the Wiki image markup to scale down the image. Wiki accepts photos up to 2 MB in size. Do not scale down the image yourself, as scaled-down images may be of limited use in the future. Preferably use thumbnails less than 35 kilobytes in size (70 kB at most).
- Edit the images to show just the relevant subject.
- Don't put photo credits in articles or on the images themselves; put them on the description page.
- Use JPEG format for photographic images, and PNG format for icons, drawings, maps, flags, and such. Use GIF format for animations. Do not use Windows BMP format images; they are uncompressed and take up too much space.
- Add a good alternative text for images.
Please note: the following is not the official copyright policy - it is merely a reminder and also gives some additional tips.
When you upload an image, make sure you own the image, or that it is in the public domain, or that the copyright holder has agreed to license it under the GFDL. Always note the image's copyright status on the image description page, using one of the image copyright tags, and giving additional information about the origin of the image. If you created the image, don't write image created by me, write image created by John Doe on Jan 1st, 2000 (where you of course replace John Doe with your name, and Jan 1st, 2000 with the date of the image creation).
Under United States copyright law, all images that were published before January 1, 1923 in the United States are now in the public domain, but this does not apply to images that were created prior to 1923 and published in 1923 or later. The year 1923 has special significance and this date will not roll forward before 2019. However, the interaction of Wikis, the GFDL, and international law is still under discussion.
However, if you strongly suspect that an image is a copyright infringement (for example, if there is no information on copyright status on its image description page and you have seen it elsewhere under a copyright notice), then you should list it for deletion (see below).
Fair dealing and Fair use considerations
The fair dealing doctrine used in the UK, Canada and Australia, and the fair use doctrine used in the United States (but not in many other jurisdictions) are frequently abused. Try to limit your use of this tag to screen captures, promotional photos from presskits and other publicity items, album covers, book covers, DVD/video covers, movie posters, and corporate logos. If you have questions about whether an image is fair use, ask at Wikipedia:Fair use.
The critical thing to remember -- our use of such images relies on a portion of the doctrine that says we can use a low-resolution public-but-copyrighted image (like an album cover, book cover, or movie poster) for the purpose of illustrating an article. A high-resolution image, suitable for purposes other than illustration/education (such as, say, printing bootleg CD covers), would not be considered fair use and would quickly be put up on Muppet Wiki:Images for deletion.