|This page documents a Wikipedia policy with legal considerations.|
- For the full non-free content use guideline (including this policy and its criteria) see Wikipedia:Non-free content.
- As per the March 23, 2007 Wikimedia Foundation Licensing policy resolution this document serves as the Exemption Doctrine Policy for the English Wikipedia.
- To support Wikipedia's mission to produce perpetually free content for unlimited distribution, modification and application by all users in all media.
- To minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content, using more narrowly defined criteria than apply under the fair use provisions in United States copyright law.
- To facilitate the judicious use of non-free content to support the development of a high-quality encyclopedia.
There is no automatic entitlement to use non-free content in an article or elsewhere on Wikipedia. Articles and other Wikipedia pages may, in accordance with the guideline, use brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media, properly attributed or cited to its original source or author, and specifically indicated as direct quotations via quotation marks, <blockquote>, or a similar method. Other non-free content—including all copyrighted images, audio and video clips, and other media files that lack a free content license—may be used on the English Wikipedia only where all 10 of the following criteria are met.
- No free equivalent. Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose. Where possible, non-free content is transformed into free material instead of using a fair-use defense, or replaced with a freer alternative if one of acceptable quality is available; "acceptable quality" means a quality sufficient to serve the encyclopedic purpose. (As a quick test, before adding non-free content requiring a rationale, ask yourself: "Can this non-free content be replaced by a free version that has the same effect?" and "Could the subject be adequately conveyed by properly sourced text without using the non-free content at all?" If the answer to either is yes, the non-free content probably does not meet this criterion.)
- Respect for commercial opportunities. Non-free content is not used in a manner that is likely to replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media.
- Minimal usage. Multiple items of non-free content are not used if one item can convey equivalent significant information.
- Minimal extent of use. An entire work is not used if a portion will suffice. Low- rather than high-resolution/fidelity/bit rate is used (especially where the original could be used for deliberate copyright infringement). This rule also applies to the copy in the File: namespace.
- Previous publication. Non-free content must have been published or publicly displayed outside Wikipedia.
- Content. Non-free content meets general Wikipedia content standards and is encyclopedic.
- Media-specific policy. The material meets Wikipedia's media-specific policy. For example, images must meet Wikipedia:Image use policy.
- One-article minimum. Non-free content is used in at least one article.
- Contextual significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.
- Restrictions on location. Non-free content is allowed only in articles (not disambiguation pages), and only in article namespace, subject to exemptions. (To prevent an image category from displaying thumbnails, add __NOGALLERY__ to it; images are linked, not inlined, from talk pages when they are a topic of discussion.)
- Image description page. The image or media description page contains the following:
- Identification of the source of the material, supplemented, where possible, with information about the artist, publisher and copyright holder; this is to help determine the material's potential market value. See: Wikipedia:Citing sources#Multimedia.
- A copyright tag that indicates which Wikipedia policy provision is claimed to permit the use. For a list of image copyright tags, see Wikipedia:Image copyright tags/Non-free content.
- The name of each article (a link to each article is also recommended) in which fair use is claimed for the item, and a separate, specific non-free use rationale for each use of the item, as explained at Wikipedia:Non-free use rationale guideline. The rationale is presented in clear, plain language and is relevant to each use.
- A file with a valid non-free-use rationale for some (but not all) articles it is used in will not be deleted. Instead, the file should be removed from the articles for which it lacks a non-free-use rationale, or a suitable rationale added.
- A file on which non-free use is claimed that is not used in any article (criterion 7) may be deleted seven days after notification.
- A file in use in an article and uploaded after 13 July 2006 that does not comply with this policy 48 hours after notification to the uploading editor will be deleted. To avoid deletion, the uploading editor or another Wikipedian will need to provide a convincing non-free-use defense that satisfies all 10 criteria. For a file in use in an article that was uploaded before 13 July 2006, the 48-hour period is extended to seven days.
- Note that it is the duty of users seeking to include or retain content to provide a valid rationale; those seeking to remove or delete it are not required to show that one cannot be created—see burden of proof.
Deletion criteria for non-free content are specified in Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion.