Wikimedia Commons

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Wikimedia Commons (simply called Commons within Wikimedia projects) is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation that seeks to create a database of "free" media, such as images, sounds, and video. Media stored in Wikimedia Commons can be used in other Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia.[1]

Wikipedia Commons does not censor images submitted regarding pornography. However, Commons has a group of administrators who review deletion requests and copyright concerns. In 2009, a teenager took a couple of photos of himself and posted them to Wikimedia Commons. The first photo was of his bare legs, the second photo was of his nipple. In January 2012 he made a formal request asking Wikipedia commons remove the photos for him. Commons administrators denied his requests three times on the grounds that once he licensed Commons to distribute his photos, he could not revoke that license. Finally, another administrator who does not primarily focus on Commons took pity on the teenager and deleted the photos. In contrast, a director of the Wikimedia UK charity uploaded a bondage photo of himself naked from the waist down. He changed his mind about having that photo publicly available because he was selected to testify on behalf of Wikimedia UK before Parliament, and got one of his Commons administrator friends to quietly delete the image without a debate.[2]

The WMF attempts to second-guess the copyright status of photos that are claimed to be copyrighted. In 2011, David J. Slater, a British wildlife photographer, had a monkey grab one of his cameras. Before Slater could recover the camera, the monkey had snapped a number of photos. Slater then publicized his story and copyrighted and licensed the photos. However, an editor uploaded a digital copy of the photo to Wikimedia Commons claiming that the copyright was invalid because the monkey had taken the photo. Slater asked that the photo be removed from Commons because people were downloading and reproducing the image without paying Slater royalties. The WMF denied his request.[3]


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