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Wikipedia: Editing and Contributing

Learn the basics about editing and contributing to Wikipedia.

Adding Images

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CC License Types

Attribution - This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.


Attribution-ShareAlike - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.


   Attribution-NoDerivs - The license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed  along ​unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.


  Attribution-NonCommercial - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially; new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, but they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.


Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs - This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you; works cannot be changed or used commercially

Public Domain

The public domain includes works that are not protected by copyright and are available for use by the public. For example, works that are created by the United States government are in the public domain. Additionally, works enter the public domain after the expiration of their copyright. As such, works published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, and works published before 1964 are in the public domain if the copyright holder did not renew the copyright.

Ways a work may enter the public domain:

  • Copyright protection has expired

Though copyright protection lasts for an extended period of time, even after the author is deceased, it is temporary.  Once the period of copyright protection has expired, all legal restrictions cease.  Cornell University provides this chart for copyright terms in the U.S.

  • The work never had copyright protection

Some works do not qualify for copyright protection because they were produced before copyright laws existed, they don't meet the terms of originality, or because they are not protected forms of work.  Other works not protected by copyright laws:

Works created by the U.S. Government (with the exception of those created under contract)
Intangible works (ex: improvisational comedy perfromances that have not been written down or recorded)
Ideas, facts, procedures, processes, methods, and systems
Works of common knowledge with no original authorship (ex: calendars, phone books)
Words, names, slogans, short phrases, titles

  • The work is dedicated to the public domain by the author

A creator of a work may choose to forfeit his or her rights by dedicating the work to the public domain.  In this case all copyright restrictions are entirely removed voluntarily.  This is not the same thing as freely licensing the work, although it is similar.

Questions about whether a work is in the Public Domain?  Use this slider tool to help you!


Insert an image into a Wikipedia page