Battlestar Wiki Media:Licensing

From Battlestar Wiki Media
BSG WIKI Policy.png This page is an official policy of Battlestar Wiki Media.
This policy is considered by the community and its leadership to be the status quo of Battlestar Wiki Media and is not to be countermanded or ignored, though changes to it can be discussed on the appropriate talk page. This policy was implemented on {{{1}}}.
The following is licensed under the GNU Free Document License and edits to this page will be released under that license. Therefore, the Creative Commons license we are using for Battlestar Wiki Media is not in effect here.

This covers the basics of licensing content on Battlestar Wiki Media.

Acceptable licenses

Preferrably, all material on the Media repository must be licensed under a free license that allows anyone to use the material for any purpose. However, since most of the content we use is copyrighted to the production companies responsible for all the Battlestar Galactica series, United States "fair use" laws apply as well.

Free license

In particular, the free license (a.k.a. copyleft license) must meet the following conditions:

  • Republication and distribution must be allowed
  • Publication of derivative work must be allowed
  • Commercial use of the work must be allowed
  • Acknowledgement of all authors/contributors of a work may be required.
  • Publication of derivative work under the same license may be required.
  • Use of open file formats free of digital restrictions management may be required.

This repository obviously also allows all works that are not applicable to copyright (i.e. in the public domain).

"Fair use"

Since most of what is in this repository is copyrighted and not released under a copyleft license, it is considered to be "fair use".

Content that is "fair use" includes:

  • Screen captures from episodes.
  • Brief audio clips from episodes.
  • Promotional materials released by the copyright holder.

All items that are considered "fair use" must be used on any wiki within the Battlestar Wiki network. If the "fair use" media is not being used, it will be accordingly tagged and deleted after a 14 day period.


You can offer as many licenses for a file as you want as long as at least one of them meets the criteria above. "Fair use" media is exempt from this.

Well-known licenses

The following well-known licenses are preferred for materials in this repository:

  • Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
  • GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)
    • Note: The GFDL is rather impractical for images and short text, especially for print media, because it requires the full text of the GFDL to be printed along with the picture or text. Dual licensing with a license which allows the image or text to be used more easily, like a Creative Commons license, is thus preferred. Also, if you can avoid it, do not use GPL or LGPL as the only license for media you create.
  • Free Art License
  • All material in the public domain (see below)

License Information

All description pages in the Media repository must indicate clearly under which license the materials were published, and must contain the information required by the license (author, etc) and should also contain information sufficient for others to verify the license status (source link).

Specifically, the following information should always be given on the description page, regardless if the license required this or not:

  • The description of the content of the image or media file. Description of your image, where, what, who? This is important so that everyone knows what you really can see/hear. Especially important for scientific data as e.g. pictures in false color.
  • The Author/Creator of the image or media file. For media that are considered to be in the public domain because the copyright has expired, the date of death of the author may also be crucial (see the section about public domain material below)
  • The Source of the material, preferably a web link or a citation. This obviously does not apply if the material is first published on the commons and the uploader is the author of the material. This should be stated explicitly.

Of less importance, but should be provided if available:

  • The Date and place of creation. For media that are considered to be in the public domain because the copyright has expired, the date of creation may be crucial (see the section about public domain material below).

These points of the description can be done at best using the Information template.

  • The License that applies to the material. This should be done using a tag.

Scope of Licensing

Note that in some cases, a document (media file) may have multiple aspects that can and have to be licensed: Every person that contributed a critical part of the work has rights to the results, and all have to make their contribution available under a free license. The distinctions are however not very clear and may differ from country to country. Here are a few examples to clarify:

  • For a recording of a song, the following aspects must be taken into account, each must be under a free license (or in the public domain):
    • The score of the music (rights by the composer)
    • The lyrics of the song (rights by the writer)
    • The performance (rights by the musicians, singers, etc)
    • The recording (rights by the technical personel / recording company)
  • For a picture of artwork (also book covers and the like), it is similar:
    • The creator of the original artwork has rights to the results.
    • The photographer has rights to the image.
  • For a picture of the interior of a building, note that the architect may hold some rights if distinct architectural features are shown (this is true at least in Germany).
  • For a picture of the exterior of a building, note that the architect may hold some rights; in some countries, this only applies if the picture was taken from a non-public place (Germany, Austria), but in some others this applies wherever the picture was taken from (France).

This is often problematic, if the artwork is not the primary content of the image or is not clearly recognizable: In that case, usually only the creator of the resulting picture (recording, etc) holds a copyright. For instance, when taking a photograph of a group of people in a museum, the photo may also show some painting on the walls. In that case the copyright of those painting does not have to be taken into account. The distinction however is not very clear.

Note that the License for all aspects has to be determined and mentioned explicitly.

Also note that reproductions are usually not eligible to copyright: The creator of a scan of a picture owns no copyright to the resulting digital image, the scan needs no license. The only license important in that case is the one of the original picture. This also applies to screenshots.

See also