Developer app guidelines
Developer Guidelines: Using Wikimedia content and trademarks in apps
What is this guide for?
How to use Wikimedia logos or content in your app.
If you want to build a new app that uses Wikimedia marks or Wikimedia content, we think that is great! The Wikimedia Foundation supports this type of reuse. For example, you may obtain reusable Wikimedia data from our API and the dumps page.
We simply ask you comply with our Trademark Policy and the applicable Creative Commons licenses. Together, these rules protect the hard work of the Wikimedia community.
For your convenience, this guide offers helpful information on how to implement those rules to your app. Please use this guide on all apps you build for smartphones, tablets, wearable computers, or any other device.
App title or description:
Use Wikimedia wordmarks in your app only to refer to Wikimedia projects or content.
If you want to use Wikimedia wordmarks or the names of Wikimedia projects (i.e. “Wikipedia”) as the first word in your app title, you need to request a trademark license.
If you want to use Wikimedia wordmarks or the names of Wikimedia projects to describe the content in your app, you do not need to request a trademark license.
For example: an app may state “the encyclopedic content on this app is derived from Wikipedia.”
Ask for a license to use a mark in your app icon.
If you want to use a Wikimedia wordmark or another Wikimedia mark in your app icon, please request a trademark license.
If you use any Wikimedia mark, include a trademark symbol (™) on its first use. Also, include this notice in the documentation for your app: “[Wikimedia Wordmark / name of logo as listed on the trademark page] is a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation and is used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.”
Licenses of logos:
Identify the license and follow the rules.
The Wikimedia marks are released under different Creative Commons licenses. Please follow the different license requirements for each mark you want to use. To determine which license applies, please check this the trademark page for the specifics on each Wikimedia mark.
For example, if the mark is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, you must credit the designer, provide a link to the license, and indicate if you modified the design. You may not do so in a way that suggests the designer endorses your use. Also, if you build upon the original material, you have to distribute your content under the same license as the original.
Reuse of content:
Make it available on the same terms to others and give credit.
Most Wikimedia text is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), and photos may be under other free licenses. Please identify which license applies and follow the different license requirements.
For example, Wikipedia’s text is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License and can also be licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. To determine whether the text is available under the GFDL, review the page footer, page history, and discussion page. You may reuse Wikipedia text under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License, if you distribute your contributions under the same license, indicate any changes you made to the content, and credit the authors through a link back to the page you reused or a list of all the authors.
Be careful of how you use logos:
Do not confuse users.
Unless you have obtained a license, you may not use logos that look like the Wikimedia marks. Your logos should not suggest that your app is related to the Wikimedia projects, the Wikimedia Foundation, or the Wikimedia mission.
Here are some examples of logos that do not need a license because they are not confusing:
Here are some examples of logos that do need a license because they are confusing:
Butterfly image, posted by Mitch Featherston, in the public domain.
Do not imply partnership if none exists.
Please do not suggest that you have a partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, if you do not have a partnership agreement in place.
For example, please do not say “we partnered with Wikipedia.” Instead, you can say “we developed this app to interact with Wikipedia” or “this app uses content from Wikipedia.”
Have clear attribution:
Take credit for your work.
You have worked hard to make your app. Please take credit for it! While attribution of content is important, it is also important that users can easily understand that the Wikimedia Foundation did not develop your app.
Be clear about how much you donate.
If you decide to donate a portion of the proceeds from your app to us ⏤ thank you! Please feel free to include that information in your app. Every contribution helps support our mission of making free knowledge available for all.
If you choose not to donate to us, that is fine too, but please do not imply that you donate more than you actually do.
If you think an implication exists, please clarify that no proceeds of your app will be donated to the Wikimedia Foundation.
Read the Trademark Policy. Ask questions.
These guidelines do not include all information on the misuse of Wikimedia marks. They also do not cover all instances when you may need to obtain a license.
For more information on anything in this guide, please refer to our Trademark Policy. Also, if you are not sure whether you are allowed to use the Wikimedia marks, please contact us at email@example.com.
FAQs for Trademark App Guidelines
1. Purpose of the guidelines
1.1 What is the function of the guidelines?
These guidelines are aimed at app developers to explain how to use Wikimedia trademarks and Wikimedia content.
1.2 How are the guidelines different from the Wikimedia Trademark Policy?
They are not! The guidelines explain how the Trademark Policy applies specifically in the context of apps. In addition, the guidelines also describe how to use Wikipedia content according to the applicable Creative Commons licenses.
1.3 So why are there separate guidelines exclusively aimed at apps?
We have created these guidelines to address the specific trademark and content issues that app developers might face. As new devices, including smartphones, tablets, and wearable computers quickly become permanent fixtures in our lives, apps are also becoming more important sources of information. We want to support app developers who use Wikimedia trademarks and content while also ensuring that their apps comply with the Wikimedia mission and accurately represent the Wikimedia community.
2. How to use the Wikimedia marks to comply with the Trademark Policy
2.1 What are the Wikimedia marks?
The Wikimedia marks are trademarks that represent the Wikimedia community. You can find a complete list of them on our trademarks page. They include wordmarks, like the stylized “Wikipedia” mark as well as more traditional logos like like the puzzle globe and the “W” logo.
2.2 Do I need to request a trademark license if a Wikimedia wordmark is the first word in my app name, even if it is obvious that my app is not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation?
Yes, because the wordmark will feature prominently in your app title and be searchable by that wordmark. In those circumstances, we need to review your usage to ensure that your app appropriately represents the Wikimedia community. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a trademark license.
2.3 Can I use a Wikimedia wordmark to reference something other than a Wikimedia site?
Yes. Our wordmarks did not exist before our projects were created, so they do not have a primary meaning like “facebook” or “apple.” That said, if you reuse Wikimedia wordmarks to address something non-Wikimedia related, we will consider that “fair use.”
2.4 Where do I include a notice that the Wikimedia mark or logo I’ve used is a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation?
You should include a trademark symbol (™) on its first use, and include this notice in the documentation for your app: "[Wikimedia Wordmark / name of logo as listed on the trademarks page] is a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation and is used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation."
2.5 How do I know if my logo is confusingly similar to a Wikimedia logo?
We have provided some examples of acceptable as well as confusingly similar logos in the app guidelines. In general, if somebody can easily think that your logo represents a Wikimedia project, then you must request a trademark license. Similarly, if you include a Wikimedia mark in your app logo then you likely must request a trademark license.
2.6 Why do I have to be clear about donations made to the Wikimedia Foundation, if I do not plan to donate?
We need to make sure that users do not think that they are financially supporting the Wikimedia projects when they pay for an app.
3. What licenses apply to Wikimedia content
3.1 What licenses apply to the Wikimedia logos?
The Wikimedia marks are licensed under different Creative Commons licenses. To determine which applies, please check the trademarks page and click on the specific mark to identify the correct license. Please then follow the instructions for the particular license.
3.2 What licenses apply to Wikimedia text?
Most Wikimedia text is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). To determine whether the text is available under the GFDL review the page footer, page history, and discussion page. Under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License, you may reuse text, if you distribute your contributions under the same license, indicate any changes you made to the text, and provide a link back to the page you reused or a link that lists of all the authors. If you reuse text from Wikipedia, please review the Reusing Wikipedia content page.
3.3 What licenses apply to Wikimedia photos?
Wikimedia photos are licensed under different licenses. If you are using an image from Wikimedia Commons, please look at the image’s page, identify which license applies, and follow the different requirements. You may also use the Imageinfo API to get extmetadata, which includes the license name. Please make sure to also review the Reusing Wikimedia Commons content page.
3.4 What about material made available under fair use?
Some Wikimedia images, sounds, or text is used under the "fair use" doctrine of United States law. In those circumstances, you must ensure that your reuse of the content also qualifies as fair use. For example, if the content is being reused for commercial purposes, it will likely not be considered fair use. Please review the Reusing Wikipedia content page for more information.