Wikipedia:Non-free content

Wikipedia's goal is to be a free content encyclopedia, with free content defined as content that does not bear copyright restrictions on the right to redistribute, study, modify and improve, or otherwise use works for any purpose in any medium, even commercially. Any content not satisfying these criteria is said to be non-free. This includes all content (including images) that is fully copyrighted, or which is made available subject to restrictions such as "non-commercial use only" or "for use on Wikipedia only". (Many images that are generally available free of charge may thus still be "non-free" for Wikipedia's purposes.) The Foundation uses the definition of "free" as described here.

The licensing policy of the Wikimedia Foundation expects all content hosted on Wikimedia projects to be free content; however, there are exceptions. The policy allows projects (with the exception of Wikimedia Commons) to adopt an exemption doctrine policy allowing the use of non-free content. Their use should be minimal and confined (with limited exceptions) to illustrating historically significant events, to include identifying protected works such as logos, or to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works. Non-free content should not be used when a freely licensed file that serves the same purpose can reasonably be expected to be uploaded, as is the case for almost all portraits of living people. Non-free content should be replaced by free content should such emerge.

The non-free content criteria policy currently serves as the exemption doctrine policy of the English Wikipedia, while this document serves to provide guidance associated with this policy. Non-free content can be used on Wikipedia in certain cases (for example, in some situations where acquiring a freely licensed image for a particular subject is not possible), but only within the United States legal doctrine of fair use, and in accordance with Wikipedia's own non-free content criteria as set out below. The use of non-free content on Wikipedia is therefore subject to purposely stricter standards than those laid down in U.S. copyright law.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Wikipedia:Non-free content, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.