How to Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow

Note: This is a technique that wikiHow rarely uses. Most images are processed only by bots now without user intervention.

Most photos found on the Internet or search engines are copyrighted and not appropriate for use on wikiHow. As such, we have a system to identify unlicensed images and work to license them correctly or remove them from wikiHow.


  1. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 1
    Browse the unlicensed image category. Start at the top and click on the image.
  2. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 2
    Evaluate images for quality as you patrol. There are a couple conditions when you can automatically nominate an image for deletion:
    • If the image does not link to any page on wikiHow and has no license you may immediately nominate the image for deletion by adding {{ifd}}. You can also place the {{pic}} template on the user's talk page to display a message reminding them to upload images with a purpose in mind.
    • If an image has been uploaded twice, nominate the duplicate image for deletion by adding {{ifd}}.
    • If the image is highly inappropriate for wikiHow you should add a speedy deletion tag: {{ispeedy}}. (Or delete the image if you are an admin.) Leave a {{warning}} on the uploader's page.
    • If you can find the same copyrighted image on the web, add {{icopyvio|website}}.
  3. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 3
    Look to see if any valid licensing information has been added to the image. Occasionally a user won't choose the right license, but will place a hyperlink to a freely licensed source. If so remove the {{No License}} template and add the correct one.
  4. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 4
    Contact the person who uploaded the photo to explain the problem. You can easily do this by leaving the {{license|}} template on their talk page if there was no source or explanation on the image page, as it nicely explains the whole situation. If they simply need a reminder to license their images properly use {{image notice}}. Always be friendly throughout the whole process.
  5. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 5
    Change the {{No License}} template on the image page and replace it with a {{notified}}. This will remove the image from "Unlicensed Images" and place it in the "Images Being Processed" category. The new category will help and alert others that the uploader was already notified and currently waiting for a response back.
  6. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 6
    Help the people who reply to your {{license}} template. Typically people fall into one of following groups:
    • Uploaded and used their own created images. Self-made works are always acceptable and are never copyvios. You can help them by changing {{No License}} to {{Self}} or similar. After changing this to the correct license please re-insert their images into their page.
    • Took photos from Wikipedia or other freely licensed source but didn't know how to select the {{GFDL}} or {{CC by 2.5}} or similar. Help them understand the differences between licenses and the restrictions of how each Creative Commons Licenses can be used.
    • Took a screenshot of a website or program. Screenshots of web sites or software programs are legal to use under the Fair Use stipulations of US Copyright law. Label screenshots as {{screenshot}}.
    • Used Google Image Search, random websites, or something similar. Those photos need to be deleted unless it can be confirmed that they are freely licensed or public domain.
  7. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 7
    Remove {{notified}} if the user does not respond within seven days, and replace with {{ifd}} on the image page.
  8. Image titled Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow Step 8
    Go to the article which links to the image and do one of the following:
    • Replace the photo with a freely licensed alternative, by using the find free photos feature. The vast majority of copyrighted "stock photos" that people take from Google image search can easily be replicated with a freely licensed alternative from Flickr or Wikimedia Commons.
    • Or you could just remove the photo link from the article page.


  • The vast majority of people in the world don't know the difference between a driver's license and a Creative Commons license. Please recognize that newbies aren't expected to know how this works. Always be friendly as you patiently coach a newbie to become a good wiki citizen.
  • These instructions are for images. You can also help by identifying and removing copyrighted articles.


  • Be extra careful and try to avoid deleting work that is clearly self made by a wikiHow editor. While self made work on wikiHow is never a copyvio, most editors don't know how to select licensing info correctly to help us identify it. While we want to delete works taken without permission from copyright holders, we want to keep works that people intended to give to wikiHow and the commons. If an image appears self made, and has a naming convention that came from a digital camera, be especially cautious before you delete.

Article Info

Categories: Historical Articles | Patrolling | Using Images