How to Upload an Image to Wikipedia

Upload image files

Uploading images to Wikipedia is easy to do and is a great way to share photos you have taken and other images that are your own work. So many people go looking for images for their online contributions, and the image that you post could be their “Aha!” image. With the proliferation of online articles, blogs, hub pages, and yes, even Wikipedia entries, uploading images is about sharing and giving back.

Wikipedia and wiki projects

Wikipedia and all of the associated wiki “projects” prefer that images that are uploaded are “free”, meaning that they are not protected under copyright laws. Wikipedia also prefers that most free files be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons instead of Wikipedia. This allows the images and other media to be used by all of the wiki projects, not just Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has its own stringent guidelines for the use of copyright-protected images, but by following the steps below, you can easily upload your images and not run afoul of the licensing guidelines.

Things to consider before uploading

In order to upload images to the English Wikipedia site, your Wikipedia account has to be at least four days old. This time permits your account to become a “confirmed” account. If you don’t want to wait, you can go ahead and upload your images to Wikimedia Commons instead if you have an account there (the same Userid and password work on all wiki projects). Note that only “free” material is allowed on Wikimedia Commons.

If you created the image yourself, you can select any of the free licensing provisions allowed on the site. Some of the most popular include:

GFDL-self (GNU Free Documentation License) – This license requires people to attribute the work to you, and if they make any changes to your original images or use them in their own work, they in turn have to make the resulting image available under the GNU license as well.
CC-BY-SA-3.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike) – This is one of the most widely used of the Creative Commons licenses. Version 3.0 permits commercial use and requires attribution.
CC-BY-3.0 (Creative Commons Attribution) – Similar to the ShareAlike license except that it doesn’t require that images derived from your original carry the same license.
PD-self (Public domain) – The use of this license means that you relinquish all rights to the image. Anyone can use it in any manner they choose, including for commercial purposes.

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