Wikimedia Commons (or simply Commons) is an online repository of
free-use images, sound, and other media files. It is a project of
the Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikimedia Commons can be used across all Wikimedia
projects in all languages, including, Wikibooks,
Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikisource, and Wikinews, or downloaded for
offsite use. As of 2018, the repository contains over 44 million
free media files, managed and editable by registered volunteers. In
July 2013, the number of edits on Commons reached 100,000,000.
3 Controversial content
6 Content figures
7 See also
9 External links
The project was proposed by
Erik Möller in March 2004 and launched
on September 7, 2004. A key motivation behind the setup of a
central repository was the desire to reduce duplication of effort
across the Wikimedia projects and languages, as the same file had to
be uploaded to many different wikis separately before Commons was
The aim of
Wikimedia Commons is to provide a media file repository
"that makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational
media content to all, and that acts as a common repository for the
various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation." The expression
"educational" is to be understood according to its broad meaning of
"providing knowledge; instructional or informative".
Most Wikimedia projects still allow local uploads which are not
visible to other projects or languages, but this option is meant to be
used primarily for material (such as fair use content) which local
project policies allow, but which would not be permitted according to
the copyright policy of Commons.
Wikimedia Commons itself does not
allow fair use or uploads under non-free licenses, including licenses
which restrict commercial use of materials or disallow derivative
works. For this reason,
Wikimedia Commons always hosts freely licensed
media and deletes copyright violations. Licenses that are acceptable
include the GNU Free Documentation License, Creative Commons
Attribution and Attribution/ShareAlike licenses, other free content
and free software licenses, and the public domain.
The default language for Commons is English, but registered users can
customize their interface to use any other available user interface
translations. Many content pages, in particular policy pages and
portals, have also been translated into various languages. Files on
Wikimedia Commons are categorized using MediaWiki's category system.
In addition, they are often collected on individual topical gallery
pages. While the project was originally proposed to also contain free
text files, these continue to be hosted on a sister project,
The site has been criticized for hosting large amounts of amateur
pornography, often uploaded by exhibitionists who exploit the site for
personal gratification, and who are enabled by sympathetic
administrators. In 2012,
Wikimedia Commons as
"littered with dicks".
In 2010, co-founder
Larry Sanger reported Wikimedia Commons
to the FBI for hosting sexualized images of children known as
"lolicon". After this was reported in the media, Jimmy Wales, founder
Wikimedia Foundation which hosts Commons, used his
administrator status to delete several images without discussion from
the Commons community. Wales responded to the backlash from the
Commons community by voluntarily relinquishing some site privileges,
including the ability to delete files.
Over time, additional functionality has been developed to interface
Wikimedia Commons with the other Wikimedia projects. Daniel Kinzler
wrote applications for finding appropriate categories for uploaded
files ("CommonSense"), determining the usage of files across the
Wikimedia projects ("CheckUsage"), locating images with missing
copyright information ("UntaggedImages"), and relaying information
about administrative actions such as deletions to the relevant wikis
Specialized uploading tools and scripts such as "Commonist" have been
created to simplify the process of uploading large numbers of files.
In order to review free content photos uploaded to Flickr, users can
participate in a defunct collaborative external review process
("FlickrLickr"), which has resulted in more than 10,000 uploads to
Commons.[not in citation given][dead link]
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (June 2010) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
The site has three mechanisms for recognizing quality works. One is
known as "Featured pictures", where works are nominated and other
community members vote to accept or reject the nomination. This
process began in November 2004. Another process known as "Quality
images" began in June 2006, and has a simpler nomination process
comparable to "Featured pictures". "Quality images" only accepts works
created by Wikimedia users, whereas "Featured pictures" additionally
accepts nominations of works by third parties such as NASA. A third
image assessment project, known as "Valued images", began on June 1,
2008 with the purpose of recognising "the most valued illustration of
its kind", in contrast to the other two processes which assess images
mainly on technical quality.
The three mentioned processes select a slight part (less than 0.1%)
from the total number of files. However, Commons collects files of all
quality levels, from the most professional level across simple
documental and amateur files up to files of very poor quality.
Generally, Commons is not a competition but a collection; a quality of
the description and organization of files and their descriptive and
informational benefits are often more relevant than technical or
artistic perfection of the files. Files with specific defects can be
tagged for improvement and warning or even proposed for deletion but
there exists no process of systematic rating of all files.
The site held its inaugural "Picture of the Year" competition, for
2006. All images that were made a Featured picture during 2006 were
eligible, and voted on by eligible
Wikimedia movement members during
two rounds of voting. The winning picture was a picture of the Aurora
Borealis over snowlands, taken by an airman from the U.S. Air Force.
The competition has since become an annual event.
Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year
As of January 2015, there are well over 5.2M geolocated images in
Wikimedia Commons. Mapping these shows significant variance in image
numbers over the globe.
Growth of Wikimedia Commons
November 30, 2006: 1 million media files
September 2, 2009: 5 million media files
April 15, 2011: 10 million media files
December 4, 2012: 15 million media files
July 14, 2013: 100,000,000 edits
January 25, 2014: 20 million media files
January 13, 2016: 30 million media files
June 21, 2017: 40 million media files
Current figures: commons:Special:Statistics
Creative Commons – a project providing a set of content
licenses and a directory of works using them
Internet Archive – an online collection of videos, documents
Project Gutenberg – the largest freely accessible collection of
documents (including books and sheet music)
Reporting of child pornography images on Wikimedia Commons
^ Endres, Joe, "Wiki websites wealth of information". International
News on Fats, Oils and Related Materials : INFORM. Champaign,
Illinois: May 2006. Vol. 17, Iss. 5; pg. 312, 1 pgs. Source type:
Periodical ISSN 0897-8026 ProQuest document ID: 1044826021 Text
Word Count 746 Document URL: Proquest URL ProQuest (subscription)
retrieved August 6, 2007
^ "Embedding Commons' media in Wikimedia projects". Wikimedia Commons.
Retrieved August 7, 2007.
^ Statistics page on Wikimedia Commons
^ a b ÄŒesky (July 15, 2013). "100,000,000th edit".
Commons.wikimedia.org. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
^ Möller, Erik (March 19, 2004). "[Wikipedia-l] Proposal:
commons.wikimedia.org". Retrieved August 7, 2007.
^ "Main Page". Wikimedia Commons. September 7, 2004. Retrieved August
^ "Wikimedia Commons: Über 100.000 freie Bilder, Töne und Filme" (in
German). Golem.de. May 25, 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2007.
^ "Commons:Project scope".
Wikimedia Commons editors. Retrieved
January 26, 2014.
Creative Commons licenses, of which "NonCommercial" and
"NoDerivs" can not be used on Wikimedia Commons.
^ "The Daily Dot – How
Wikimedia Commons became a massive amateur
^ "The Epic Battle For's Autofellatio Page".
^ "Wikimedia's Wales gives up some top-level controls Internet &
Media - CNET News".
^ "FlickrLickr image upload count". tools.wikimedia.de. Retrieved July
Find more aboutWikimedia Commonsat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Learning resources from Wikiversity
Data from Wikidata
Discussion from Meta-Wiki
Wikimedia Commons by WikiTeam
Oscar van Dillen
List of Wiktionaries
List of Wikimedia chapters
Wikimedia v. NSA