Forums: IndexCommunity discussionsProposing a Files and Images Policy | Forum new Post

I happened upon this staff blog on Community Central, discussing the use of Fair Use as it relates to uploading copyrighted works (mainly images) to wikis. In reading this article I realized that our wiki has very little, if anything, as far as formal standards regarding what is acceptable to upload here, and any action we may take in situations where uploads violate copyright. This blog post wasn't when I first realized this, but it is now spurring me to start this discussion.

To put a point on it, I think we need a formal policy regarding uploaded content. This would apply primarily to images, but would also apply to other files uploaded to the wiki, as well as (to a limited extent) text and words copied from other sources. As the bread and butter of this policy would cover files, that's where I'd like to focus. I personally think we need to take a moderate approach to this situation, wherein we attempt to keep our files copyright-compliant while still being reasonable with the users who upload them. Copyright is a complex idea that many users, even experienced ones, may not fully comprehend, so I think any policy we write should include thorough explanations of these concepts.

So, the policy I'm thinking of would consist of:

  • Explanations of different terminology in copyright law (e.g. copyright, fair use, license, public domain) and how they affect files uploaded to the wiki.
  • Demonstration of what kinds of content are copyrighted vs non-copyrighted
  • Procedures for addressing files that do not contain proper copyright information.
  • Procedures for addressing files that may not be proper to upload under fair use doctrine.
  • Procedures for addressing repeated violation of policy

I want to re-emphasize regarding this last point; I do not think this should be a matter where a user is treated as a rule breaker because they, for example, forget to provide license information for an image they upload. The key word is repeated, as in they are informed of what copyright is and why we have rules for it (assuming this is created) and are given opportunities to address their deficiencies, and yet they still continue to upload non-eligible content or fail to provide proper license information. I know there might be some apprehension about this as, again, this is a complex matter but ultimately I think any rules we adopt have to be able to be enforced if needed.

So ultimately, I'm looking for a few things. Firstly, do you think it's a good idea to create a policy for this (I certainly hope that you do think so). Secondly, what should this policy say or contain regarding these matters. And finally, how should we address users that break the policy, once it's passed.

I look forward to this discussion. -- LiR speak ~ read 01:19, November 29, 2012 (UTC)


Hmm I recall I proposed a policy like this... 15 months ago that still only has one or two comments :s Nevertheless, I love the idea of something to govern the file namespace - a lot of people on IRC have heard me ramble on about how bad the current situation with our image system. I'm wholeheartedly in support of this, and I think from a quick read through what you suggested is good in terms of a policy.

In regards to what you said about violation of policy, I think we should only make it repeated and unaware violations. I would hesitate to block someone on it, and would only do so once they've been given a reminder and maybe a formal warning. I don't want us to get something like YouTube, essentially "you upload copyrighted stuff, we remove it and we are allowed to shut down your account even if it is first offence".

Wall of text end ђ talk 05:55, November 29, 2012 (UTC)

Agreed on the 'repeated and unaware' portion... I think maybe the protocol we'd adopt would be:
  • First occasion - Admin/other user adds the necessary information to the image (if they can), leave a message on the offending user's talk page linking them to this policy and explaining the situation.
  • Second occasion - Admin/other user adds the necessary information, leave a more firmly-worded reminder to read over this policy and to follow it.
  • third occasion - Admin deletes the offending image(s), leaves a warning on the user's page with a link to this policy.
  • fourth, etc... blocks and standard operating procedure.
How's that look? -- LiR speak ~ read 06:14, November 29, 2012 (UTC)
(adding more) ... this just occurred to me. Instead of blocking on the fourth and subsequent violations, we could place them under Editing Restriction, prohibiting them from uploading new images or files for a period of time. That way they can continue to edit the wiki, just not upload new files. Granted, by this point if they don't understand the messages and warnings we might just be better off going to escalating blocks like normal. -- LiR speak ~ read 06:16, November 29, 2012 (UTC)
I still don't really understand how Fair Use works or even what it is, and AFAIK, the only copyright violation problem we've ever had is this, though I'm not sure if there's even more. So I don't know if we need to make a strict policy for the file and image copyright. :/ We may be able to implement this, but making it strict, I don't know. Nikel Talk Vote! 13:13, November 29, 2012 (UTC)
A policy like this is a way to protect our wiki and our users from copyright non-compliance. A copyright holder (in our case, EA) has the right to demand that their copyrighted material be taken down if they see it as being misused or if we don't have a valid reasoning for why it falls under fair use. The copyright holder can even seek legal action. While this situation is admittedly rare (as there is a framework existing in the law to prevent it from reaching the courts unless necessary) having some amount of protection against it would be good. The policy as a whole would mandate that our images not only stipulate who holds the copyright and whether our use is under fair use, but would mandate that a user justifies how fair use applies to a particular image uploaded.
To briefly explain fair use... A person who creates original works, like an author, artist, or video game conglomerate, holds a copyright on all works they produce. This gives that person/company the exclusive right to sell the content and to reproduce it. The copyright holder can choose to waive that right (thus putting the work in public domain) or can be contacted on a case-by-case basis to allow their works to be used by a third-party. It would be impractical if not impossible for TSW to contact EA and ask for permission every time someone uploaded an image to the wiki. Fortunately, there's the Fair Use doctrine.
Essentially, Fair Use states that the right of a copyright holder to control the use of their copyrighted material might be challenged if certain criteria were met. These criteria include use of copyrighted material for the purposes of educating, reporting news, or critiquing. So when we upload EA-copyrighted images to the wiki, we almost always do so with the intent that the image will help us illustrate something; thus our use of the image falls under a fair use justification. - LiR speak ~ read 14:43, November 29, 2012 (UTC)

We've needed something concrete on files for a while now anyway. While I do believe that the problems we have with the File namespace extend beyond that of licensing (file names come to mind), we may as well tackle one thing at a time. I support this proposal although I'm not too sure whether or not TSW:ER would be practical to enforce for repeated offenders as although it's aim is to get the message across of what is and isn't okay, it can also seem like the warning process is being prolonged with very little progress, should it get to stage 4. If this policy is implemented then anything we add to ER on constant offenders would be implicitly stated in the policy anyway. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 20:07, November 29, 2012 (UTC)

I think this should be a comprehensive policy, not necessarily limited just to copyright and licensing, though that is the main focus of the policy. So having a section regarding acceptable/unacceptable file names, and types of acceptable/unacceptable files (think pornographic photos, for instance) could definitely be included. As for the handling of repeat offenders, perhaps we could remove the third step and make the second step more of a formalized warning (though without necessarily using the warning template, because I hate the warning template), stating that repeating the action would result in a restriction on uploading. That way if they were to violate the upload restriction, it would result in a block, and that would be the fourth step in the new process. -- LiR speak ~ read 23:04, November 29, 2012 (UTC)
Works for me. The way we plan to handle a user's block long term can easily be put down in the restriction. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 23:09, November 29, 2012 (UTC)


Alright, based on the feedback above I feel it's safe to proceed to drafting up the policy itself. The Sims Wiki:Image and file policy has been created along with a framework for what I envision the policy to be. Please leave any suggested wording or revisions below. Once the final product is complete I'll bring it back here for consideration by the community at large. Keep in mind, the page is a major work in progress. - LiR speak ~ read 21:16, November 30, 2012 (UTC)

Formal proposal

I have completed writing the proposed policy. Please give feedback on the policy below, including suggested changes or revisions as you see fit. If you agree with the policy as-is, please use the {{VoteFor}} template, and if you're against the policy, please use {{VoteAgainst}}. Note that this is not a vote, and it will go on as long as is necessary to determine whether or not a consensus exists for adopting the policy. -- LiR speak ~ read 02:45, December 14, 2012 (UTC)

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- I am in full support for this policy. (ThomasWikia) 03:38, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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- yay we're actually getting something done for once ђ talk 04:08, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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- Yep. ~ Waikikamukow (Anyone wanna chat?)04:31, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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- Sure, why not. - DanPintalkcontribs 07:10, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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 - Yeah  🌹Deathbee100007:57, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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- Sounds like a good plan. - Star-Talk10:22, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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- Sounds OK to me. JM9193 (talk) 11:39, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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Support - We've needed a policy like this forever, as I've already stated, and we're making progress by finally getting one. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b)12:05, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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I strongly support this policy. Nikola (Let's talk)15:05, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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Everything will be more organized and I like that. Life just wouldn't be the same without the Sims! Talk15:39, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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It will only help the wikipedia more. I'm Deskita Talk to me If you want16:03, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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I like this- I'd say go for it. AsherÉire I'm a lonely person, so please talk to me... 16:24, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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It'll make the wiki better. Vss2eiptalk here21:00, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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I agree with this proposal. S C H N E T Z K A (Let's Chat) 21:10, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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I think that in the long run this is something that in the long run will be beneficial. In my belief this is a fairly important matter, and to be honest I'm glad you addressed it, LiR. SalazzlePGR7 (parler - entendre)21:19, December 14, 2012 (UTC)
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I entirely agree with this.Hurshbr (talk) 22:03, December 14, 2012 (UTC)Hurshbr
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I'll go with it :). ParanormalJ (talk) 01:22, December 15, 2012 (UTC)
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 Agree :) Dini (Feel Free To Talk To Me..) 05:51, December 15, 2012 (UTC)
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Meh, admittedly I'm a bit lazy to add the copyrights. But hey, what's a little effort gonna hurt? I'm up for this! Bayoubash Bayoubash (talk) 17:38, December 15, 2012 (UTC)
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