Images being removed from wiki pages

This is not (just) about additional effort, but about losing images that aren’t available elsewhere. I consider that a valid concern. If there is no reason to suspect a copyright violation, I would not want such images to be deleted.

To make this perfectly clear: I appreciate …

  • deleting images that were uploaded to the OSM wiki in violation of copyright
  • replacing non-free images with equivalent openly licensed ones
  • efforts to contact uploaders in order to clarify the license and make images on the OSM wiki safe to reuse.

All of that is hard work and makes the wiki better.

However, I don’t think unique images should be deleted just because the uploader has not selected an open license and can no longer be reached. From @Mateusz_Konieczny’s response to my previous comment on that issue, I assume this concern is at least on his radar.


See “Is it OK to assume Wiki license for files uploaded without explicit licenses and are marked as own work?” on Wiki that is highly relevant for people interested in this topic.

In other words: what about less important images that are replaceable and can be recreated? Can we safely assume CC-BY-SA-2.0 at least for ones marked as own work by uploader?

Should we mark that uploaded media was not explicitly licensed?

Or delete them?

I would especially appreciate comment from @SimonPoole or someone else at least vaguely aware of legal implications.

Yes, old valuable images that are impossible to replace are definitely a concern and excluded from deletions, as described there. At least currently as I am not a lawyer and maybe we sadly delete also them. Trying to prevent such loss is one of reasons for trying to clarify licensing status of all that images - while people can be still reached.

There is still question about replaceable/unused/not so valuable images like case I mentioned in the first section of that post.

Are there somewhere a master list of images which still hasn’t been checked or those which are under investigation?

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I have sort-of-overwiev page with some hints (let me know if anything is unclear or you want to help and you are unsure how).

In many cases only trivial amount of work per file is enough to fix its status. For example I just fixed one of files: Difference between revisions of "File:TransAlaskaPipeline.jpg" - OpenStreetMap Wiki (added info that superior version exists at Wikimedia Commons - I just searched “Trans Alaska Pipeline” at Commons) - and while I used special template just leaving link “hey this image is low resolution copy of that image at Commons + LINK” at file description page would be already really helpful

In short: see Category:Media without a license - OpenStreetMap Wiki Category:Labelled for deletion - OpenStreetMap Wiki Category:Deletion Proposed - OpenStreetMap Wiki Category:Attribution not provided in CC license template which requires attribution - OpenStreetMap Wiki for direct links to automatic listings (if any of that listings is unclear please comment here)

See also Talk:Wiki - OpenStreetMap Wiki and Talk:Wiki - OpenStreetMap Wiki for manually listed problematic ones

I can’t remember if it was mentioned already, but there are some tools that help automate the license checking on images, analyzing each image and inverse searching for it on the Internet.

I guess that wikipedia has found itself in a similar issue and maybe we can ask in case they already have tools to automate this?


Good afternoon from Mexico. I don’t know if I can contribute my opinion to this topic. I am an openstreetmap user and contributor since 2013 and all my data that I contribute to the map is “in situ”, on the place, I have never copied from any other map or from any other source. I like to go out to a place to get to know and take the opportunity to update on the map. I like to have a good detailed and clear map, if it is free much better.
I’m currently taking a few hours off to map around my area, or areas that need to be updated. I also take photographs of some facades of businesses or shops that are already established, or have been in operation for a long time.

I agree that images that are difficult to get back should not be deleted. but I also know about copyright and legal issues so it is also necessary to remove images with copyrights or unclear licenses.

On the one hand, it is true that if a contributor or “uploader” uploaded an image, it is with the intention of sharing and supporting the map with images to clearly visualize a mapping. But this does not mean that the image is completely owned by the uploader, because it may be that due to the lack of means such as a camera, they searched for an image on the internet and put it on Wiki-osm.

If a license to an image is not clear, it is best to withdraw the image to avoid legal problems. if the “uploader” is contacted and clarifies and/or modifies the license of an image so that it can be used freely, there is no problem in having that image again.
But for the time being, the images will have to be removed.

I am also concerned about the elimination of significant images, so I suggest (it seems to me that it is already there) a list of images to be eliminated, but separated into categories. there are those who live near a coast and can take photographs that are needed related to the sea and the coasts. Others of us live in the center of the continent and today there is more road infrastructure so we can take new photographs to replace those that are being eliminated.
We just have to look for priorities and quickly replace those images with new ones taken by ourselves and adding the free use license.

nowadays it is no longer difficult to get a picture, phones already take very good pictures and you don’t need a special camera; In addition, the photographs are geotagged with the coordinates of where they were taken.

For my part I am going to take a look at the list to see what images I can take from my part with a free license and thus replace the images to be deleted. I had already thought of this, going to places and photographing to illustrate Wikipedia.
So if I, who don’t have many resources, can dedicate a few hours to replacing new photographs, I think that any other person who has more dedication to mapping will be able to do it without problems.

I know little english, so I had to use gtranslator for trasnalate this text from spanish to english.

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Hi @JeSe-MX, welcome! Good to see it is also possible to read this topic and reply without too much knowledge/experience with English.

Agreed, replacing those images with new ones taken or ones takes from Wikidata is the way to go.
To get more people involved I think a better presentation is needed.

I see @Mateusz_Konieczny did good work and it seems well documented on low-level.

What I am missing is a way to get a good overview fast. I would like to see some kind of “management overview”, a drill-down report that how many images/media are fine and how many are problematic.

On the second level “drilling down” I would like to see the sub-categories for problems, Category:Media without a license - without subcategory has currently 3515 members but under Uploader notifying I see (nice) a count over time:

2022-05-25 26 920 13287+4872+591+52+585+5+21+7507
2022-06-05 26 095 12592+5204+506+32+396+5+20+7340
2022-06-20 25 013 11772+5657+223+39+180+6+14+7122
2022-06-29 25 030 11742+5640+280+32+178+6+29+7123
2022-08-01 24 448 11467+5627+136+32+74 +6+13+7093
2022-08-30 23 842 10232+6191+409+42+151+6+12+6799
2022-09-17 23 372 10019+6284+292+37+105+6+ 7+6622 // directly after series of many file deletions

I see the source is listed under this “table” but this is far from-user friendly and I do not see something like that 3515 number of Category:Media without a license - without subcategory the in this list. Is that because the without subcategory? Can we limit the problem to without a license or is that too simple?

I did plot the numbers:

Good progress but yes, help would be good.

Also: Dealing with images on unknown license was already mentioned in this topic but reading it, I do not immediately know what to do.

Given the problems with licensing of Media and that it is not “corebusiness” for OSM I would strongly advise using using Wikimedia Commons for all replacement and new Media.

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Thanks! Feel free to ask here for help! Or on

Category:Tag and key pages with missing images - OpenStreetMap Wiki can be also used to find where images are missing on OSM Wiki (often image can be found on Wikimedia Commons and it is not necessary to take new ones)

I agree.

That is because entire Category:Media without a license - OpenStreetMap Wiki is listed there (including also ones where uploader was notified)

I have tried to improve it - can you look at Category:Media without a license - uploader not notified - OpenStreetMap Wiki and let me know which part is unclear/confusing?

Or is everything clear but you simply have no idea what should be done?

I have tried to improve it - can you look at Category:Media without a license - without subcategory - OpenStreetMap Wiki 1 and let me know which part is unclear/confusing?

I did so:

  • First thing I noticed there are two sections “Dealing with images on unknown license”, can they be merged?
  • Then I did saw 5th Anniversary c.JPG on the page and saw I did indeed not have a license yet, so I opened the user page and did go to the Talk page and found (at the end) there have already been discussions and actions on updating images, so I wonder why was this image not included?
  • Then I had a look at File:2020 stBN placeofworship pagan.svg but checking the Talk page of that user he/she has been already contacted by no reply until now.
  • I found quite some more images (I think even te majority) where the user has been already contacted one or multiple times on his/het Talk page, I think others can not really help here, right? Can these filtered out/be moved to a different category (for example Notified)
  • That leaves for example File:00. Перечень автодорог.pdf
    • I can try to contact that user but before doing this I like to know all Media the user uploaded so no double work is done
    • I see the .pdf was updated last time 23 jan 2021, why was at, that time, the upload functionality not enforcing that media is given a proper license? I looks to me that for Special:Upload that is currently the case, correct?
    • This .pdf’s is a Decree of the Government of the Russian Government, instead of the user asking to add a license is it not better to ask him/het to remove the file and use a direct link to the the .pdf instead?

You seem to have done quite a lot of work on this but I am still not getting a good idea on:

  • Which percentage of uploaded media has a problem
  • Why are there 23.372 problems listed under Uploader notifying but Category:Media without a license - without subcategory has only 3.516 entries and for a large part of these entries the user is already notified
  • What work already has been done and what is still “planned”

Fixed. Let me know what is now the most confusing part.

I was not entirely sure how to deal with OSM logo, so when I was notifying I skipped files marked with {{OpenStreetMap trademark}}

I am not sure is it necessary to attribute also logo author in such cases.

Similarly, with maps and screenshots I am confused what would be the proper handling so I stopped notifying people about them.

Are you sure? Author (Themroc) has no talk page at all.

Category:Media without a license - uploader not notified - OpenStreetMap Wiki should not contain images where author was notified specifically about given image (though they could be notified about other)

If user was notified specifically about this image then file page can be edited to have {{No licence|subcategory=uploader notified 2022, September}} (or with a different date if applicable) rather than {{No licence}} or {{Unknown}}

I also skipped pdfs when I was notifying people, especially ones in foreign languages. No idea what is this file.
" *Decree of the Government of the Russian Government" - maybe it is some backup? Or analysis?

That is because Category:Media without a license contains all files without license and Category:Media without a license - without subcategory has ones where uploader was not notified. Or at least it is not marked on file page.

Hmmm, maybe Category:Media without a license - uploader not notified would be better name for category?

According to Media statistics - OpenStreetMap Wiki total file count uploaded locally is 49 852 files. Note that many files used on OSM Wiki are fortunately uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

The last version is for Author {Sergionaranja}, right?

Looking at that Talk page, I think the “Missing file information” is quite overwhelming.

Hmmm, maybe Category:Media without a license - uploader not notified would be better name for category?

Yes, “without subcategory” does not tell much, “uploader not notified” at lot more.

Let me try to review some of the media and update things if applicable.

I think I might spend also some time to get a better insight in the how the 23.372 problems out of 49.852 files are divided up. It looks like a big problem and I think some tooling would be good, I see @Mateusz_Konieczny has already matkoniecz/osm-wiki-copyright-violation-detector-scripts

Are there also tools that can automatically update license information?

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is there a query to ask for images without specified license uploaded by a specific user (eg myself)?

Sending a mail on some lists asking people who contributed to the wiki for verification of their media could potentially solve quite a bit of cases

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Hola, buenos días.

El tema, o los textos de cada post ya se me han hecho muy confusos para mi. Sólo sé y tengo bien claro que cada imagen ya tiene su categoría según el problema que tiene la imagen. Y que, mientras ustedes ya están trabajando en separar y revisar las imágenes, yo ya tengo enlistadas algunas para remplazar.

Me comentaron que lo más fácil sería intercambiarlas por las de Wikimedia, pero para mi es mejor hacer un plan e ir a un lugar a tomar la foto para remplazar. Así hago dos cosas: Salimos de paseo en familia; aprovecho para cartografiar y actualizar datos del mapa.

Solo tengo una duda: En las imágenes de tipo ícono, como por ejemplo File:02carway.png or 03forest.png ¿No es mejor redibujar el icono, por ejemplo in Inkscape, y actualizarlo con nueva licencia?
Lo mismo podría suceder con alguna otra imagen que sea tipo ícono, señal de tráfico, u otro medio impreso en la vía.

Para el caso de las “screenshot”, no tengo mucha experiencia, sólo una aquí en méxico. Es un tema complicado, pero en resumen, mientras se agregue el nombre del programa y fabricante con su respectivo logo de (R) or (C), no habrá mayor problema, puesto que la captura de pantalla se esta utilizando para fines educativos, no lucrativos. Y se esta haciendo mención del autor.
De otra forma, si las empresas reclamaran derechos de autor por escreenshots, no existirían video tutoriales.

Bueno, sólo son mis comentarios, yo, alguien que no conoce mucho del tema de licencias, ni de contenidos públicos.

(una disculpa, hoy escribí en mi idioma natal; descubrí un botón que traduce mi mensaje. Espero sea traducido correctamente).

Yes, I also posted that question in this thread. I found a way but it is a bit involved:

  • Go to you Wiki user page
  • Click in the right-top corner “Contributions”
    • This resolves to:<wiki-id>
  • Use Find (Ctrl-f) to file File:
  • Scroll through all the pages till you found all files and are on the end

Sending a mail on some lists asking people who contributed to the wiki for verification of their media could potentially solve quite a bit of cases

I think there should be (first) an effort to make it for people even easier to know what to do, Wiki:Media file license chart is a good start but I think a list of examples would be even better.

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Good to give some examples. I see these icons are used (only) on Sigtuna kommun so replacing 1 or 2 files has no use, the complete set of 10 should be replaced.

If you or somebody else can make replacements for this set of 10 images, it would be great, but I would suggest to upload them to Wiki Commons so they can be used for more widely.

I also found that this commons search Icons for road descriptions, returns lots of good icons but finding a set of 10 to replace these is close to impossible.

NB: It would still be nice if the user would react but I see his last Wiki edit is from May 2013 so not too much hope he can still be reached.

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Nothing straightforward. I ended writing script that parsed wiki pages. See

User:Mateusz Konieczny/notify uploaders/Dieterdreist - OpenStreetMap Wiki has some (note that maps and screenshots are skipped, I can generate listing that includes also such files, but I may be not able to answer copyright-related questions about them).

For people who uploaded less than 50 images looking manually through them may be faster ( emvee described it above). Unless I would generate such listing for all OSM Wiki accounts.

Yes, but there are notoriously prone to false positives. Search for “false DMCA youtube” for long lists of egregious failures.

And note that many images were published earlier elsewhere but for various reasons can be used.

Though if someone wants: feel free to try detecting copyright violations in this way.

Yes, but their work is a derivative work of original artwork. So original work needs licensing info and maybe modifications were creative to also require handling copyright status.

See Commons:Derivative works - Wikimedia Commons (Commons has many great materials about copyright of images )

Page moved: Category:Media without a license - uploader not notified: Difference between revisions - OpenStreetMap Wiki

Scrolling a bit around I found there is a perfect and easy way:

Go to: File list - OpenStreetMap Wiki

Fill in your Wiki user name and press OK.

For this purpose it would be handy if the list would give also License column that indicates either:

  • Ok - License Fine
  • Not Ok - License problematic
  • Unknown - License not known

I am concerned that a number of images have been removed from data items and that the person doing the removal has made no effort to replace them there.

Can you link to an example?