The Wikimedia marks represent free educational content developed through an open and collaborative process. Trademark protection reinforces the connection between the Wikimedia marks and the projects they represent. The protection serves to ensure that the marks are only used for activities that promote our mission.
When readers see the puzzle globe mark in the top left corner of a website that looks like Wikipedia, they should be confident that they are looking at neutral, notable, and high-quality content that is the result of the rigorous and transparent editing process on Wikipedia. Likewise, people should be able to rely on their impression of Wikimedia involvement when they see the Foundation mark or one of the Wikimedia logos on websites or products.
The goodwill supporting the Wikimedia marks has been generated by a prolific and passionate volunteer community. The Wikimedia community has developed the leading online source of free educational content. To preserve the goodwill they have created, we have prepared this policy according to the community's direction. The resulting policy ensures that all uses of the marks are consistent with our mission and promote the Wikimedia movement.
Vores mission om at dele viden bygger på og støtter ytringsfriheden. For at gøre det virkelig enkelt at dele viden omfatter denne varemærkepolitik enhver beskyttelse af ytringsfriheden optaget i lovgivning om varemærker i videst muligt omfang. Politikken skal også tilstræbe at mindske forhindringer skabt af varemærke-licenser. Vi er især åbne overfor at anbefale Wikimediabrugernes anvendelse i overensstemmelse med vores mission.
To further make it easier for community members to use the marks, this policy introduces some creative trademark solutions. It allows community members to use the Wikimedia marks without a trademark license for Wikimedia community-focused events and outreach work. The policy further introduces a "Quick License" for other common uses that community members can quickly fill out and email to us. It's really wikiwiki!
Read more about the purpose of our trademark policy here.
1 What does this policy apply to?
1.1 The "Wikimedia marks"
1.2 "Use" of the Wikimedia marks
This Policy applies whenever you want to use the Wikimedia marks. Section 2 of this policy applies to all uses of the marks. Other sections apply only to uses that do not require separate permission, uses that require a trademark license, or uses under agreements held by chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups that are recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation. If some term in your trademark license is inconsistent with this policy, you should follow the license terms.
1.3 "We" or the "Wikimedia Foundation"
This Policy regulates the use of marks held by the Wikimedia Foundation. Sometimes, this policy simply refers to the Wikimedia Foundation as "we."
This Policy applies to "you" if you want to use the Wikimedia marks and explains how you may use them. You may be a Wikimedia community member, chapter, thematic organization, or user group. You may also be an unrelated individual or organization.
The Wikimedia community includes everyone who contributes to a Wikimedia site in furtherance of our mission. It also includes members and staff of chapters, thematic organizations, user groups, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The members of the Wikimedia community share a common mission of creating and distributing free educational content. They are the core of the Wikimedia movement. Accordingly, community members may freely use the Wikimedia Community logo. They are also free to use all Wikimedia marks on the Wikimedia sites and for Wikimedia community-focused events, as well as outreach work without obtaining a trademark license. Community members can also easily fill out a Quick License for certain other community uses, such as Wikimedia photo events. We generally give priority to community requests for uses that require an ordinary trademark license.
1.4.2 Chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations
Chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations recognized by Wikimedia Foundation are called "movement organizations". They are independent from the Wikimedia Foundation and support and promote the Wikimedia sites. These groups enter into agreements with the Wikimedia Foundation, which allow them to use certain Wikimedia marks. Any use should primarily further Wikimedia's mission. To use the marks beyond the specified scope of its agreement, an organization can ask for a separate trademark license or simply comply with this policy when the use does not require a license. An organization can, of course, always select its own names, logos, and domain names. It does not have to use our marks.
1.4.3 Other organizations or individuals
Wikimedia sites are so well-known that authors and script writers frequently want to portray them in books and movies. Similarly, other companies may want to reuse content from Wikimedia sites in web or mobile applications. In doing so, these individuals and companies may want to display our marks in movies, books, apps, or other media.
As long as users are not confused about the source of those works, this type of use can promote the Wikimedia sites and mission by expanding the reach of free knowledge and potentially recruiting new Wikimedia community members. But it is important that the Wikimedia marks are not misleadingly used to market others' products because that will confuse Wikimedia users. We therefore have to be careful when licensing the marks for these purposes. For example, when licensing the marks to an organization that has its own logo, we need to make sure that it does not display any Wikimedia mark more prominently than its own logo or name. It's helpful to always have a proper separation between the organization's name and logo and any Wikimedia mark. Users should clearly see that the organization's products or services are provided by that other organization rather than the Wikimedia Foundation. Such use is never allowed without a trademark license.
The Wikimedia marks should be used only for activities that promote our mission, which is to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally."
2 How to use the Wikimedia marks
2.1 Proper form
You may use the wordmarks as a proper name (e.g., "Wikidata is great") or as an adjective (e.g., "the Wikimedia sites are awesome"). This includes any of the official translations and transliterations of the Wikimedia marks.
On the Wikimedia sites, you may use the marks in any form. You may create remixes of the wordmarks and logos, abbreviate them, and add to them.
Outside the Wikimedia sites, you may only use Wikimedia wordmarks in their full form and properly capitalized (e.g., "Wikibooks"). The logos should not be modified without separate permission from the Wikimedia Foundation. We need to make sure that the logos remain distinctive from other marks.
2.2 Notice or trademark symbol
When reasonable, please include this notice when you use a mark outside the Wikimedia sites:
"[Wikimedia Wordmark / name of logo as listed here] 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."
The notice should appear near the first use of a Wikimedia mark. One notice is enough if you display multiple marks, provided the notice refers to all of them. You do not need to display this notice if you are using the Community logo under Section 3.4.
If the mark will primarily appear on a mobile screen or another medium with limited visual space, you may instead use a trademark symbol (™) with the mark to show that it is a Wikimedia trademark. For size and location of the trademark symbol, please see the Visual Identity Guidelines. When you use a symbol due to limited space and there are additional pages to your material, please include the notice in the text of a prominent page (e.g., most mobile apps have an "about us" section and may display terms during installation).
Regardless of whether you use a notice or a trademark symbol to identify your use of Wikimedia marks, please make sure that your use does not suggest endorsement by or affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation.
3 When you may use the Wikimedia marks without asking us
3.1 Use of trademarks on the Wikimedia sites
You may use and remix the Wikimedia marks on the Wikimedia sites as you please.
You may use the trademarks for events that promote our mission and are intended to be predominantly attended by Wikimedia community members. These are events like hackathons, editor meetups, photographer excursions, and WikiCons.
For example, you can put the Wikipedia puzzle globe logo on banners and posters at an edit-a-thon you have organized.
GLAM initiatives and photo contests require a Quick License under Section 4.1.
This provision does not allow you to use the marks for fundraising.
3.3 Outreach and recruiting new contributors
You may use the marks consistent with our mission to educate people about the Wikimedia sites and to recruit new contributors, as long as you make it clear that you do not work for the Wikimedia Foundation. You can create educational material or banners to decorate a public fair stand or to publicize an edit-a-thon.
This provision does not allow you to use the marks for fundraising.
The Wikimedia Community logo can be used freely. But you may not file trademark applications incorporating the logo. The Wikimedia community wants to ensure that the logo remains available for all to use.
3.5 Discussing something other than Wikimedia sites (fair use)
Wordmarks can sometimes have a primary meaning, in addition to representing a brand (like the words "apple" or "facebook"). Our wordmarks were not real words before our projects were created. But we will interpret fair use broadly to include the use of our wordmarks when you clearly mean to talk about something other than the Wikimedia sites.
3.6 Refer to Wikimedia sites (nominative use)
You can use the non-stylized wordmarks (e.g., "Wikipedia") to describe:
- A Wikimedia site or another aspect of the Wikimedia movement in a text (e.g., "I love reading about coal balls on Wikipedia").
- A derivative work of Wikimedia content in a way that is not misleading (e.g., "the encyclopedic content on this site is derived from Wikipedia").
You may use all Wikimedia marks on your own website as a hyperlink to the Wikimedia sites. The use of logos in hyperlinks should follow the Visual Identity Guidelines (e.g., the marks may be resized, but not modified in any other way).
Here are some other specific cases of nominative use:
3.6.1 News reporting
You may use the Wikimedia marks to make truthful statements about the Wikimedia sites in news reports and commentary.
You may use the Wikimedia marks to make or illustrate truthful statements about the Wikimedia sites in personal blogs and social media. But please do not do it to imply endorsement by or affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation. To avoid confusion, do not use the Wikimedia logos in the background, as your profile image, or in the header of your blog, in the name of your blog, or in your social media username. This section is not meant to restrict your use of the Community logo under Section 3.4.
3.6.3 Artistic, scientific, literary, political, and other non-commercial uses
You can use the Wikimedia marks to discuss the Wikimedia sites in artistic, scientific, literary, and political works.
But please send us a request if you want to place a Wikimedia mark on the cover of your book, display a Wikimedia mark in a movie, or organize an event or presentation that could be interpreted to be endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation. For more information, please see Section 4.
You may use the marks in satire or jokes. To avoid confusing users that your work is affiliated with the Wikimedia sites, it may be helpful to mark your work as "satire" or "parody."
3.7 Make your own branded stuff
You may create things with the marks for your own use. These can be t-shirts, caps, desktop wallpapers, lanyards and even cakes! But please do not sell them, and make sure that your design follows the Visual Identity Guidelines. If you want to sell your branded stuff, you may request a license under Section 4.6.
4 Special uses that require permission
All uses that are not allowed under Section 3 or prohibited by [[<tvar name=section5link>#policy-mirrors|Section 5]] of this policy require a trademark license. This section discusses only the most common uses that require a license.
When you use our marks under a trademark license, you need to comply with its terms as well as with this trademark policy. If some term in your license is inconsistent with this policy, you should follow that license term. Movement organizations will only need a separate license when the use is not already authorized by their organizational agreements with the Wikimedia Foundation or this policy.
A Quick License is a simple trademark license for common community uses, like Wiki Loves Monuments and GLAM-Wiki initiatives. It is available on Meta-Wiki. You can start using the marks as stated in the Quick License as soon as you email a filled-in Quick License to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no need to wait for approval.
Photo contests allow people to submit freely licensed original photographs to Wikimedia Commons to compete for the best image. You can obtain a Quick License for flyers, posters, slide presentations, websites, and social media for a photo contest. If you are a movement organization, you may already have an agreement that covers photo contests.
4.1.2 GLAM-Wiki initiatives
You may use the marks in a collaboration with someone outside of the Wikimedia movement with a Quick License. This license applies to collaborations with parks, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to share their information with the world through the Wikimedia sites. If you are a movement organization, you may already have an agreement that covers GLAM-Wiki initiatives.
Some GLAM initiatives include Wikipedians in Residence – Wikipedia contributors who work with a specific GLAM to develop the organization's relationship with Wikipedia. Please use a Quick License to represent yourself as a Wikipedian in Residence on online professional profiles, your personal blog, and social media, as long as your work is consistent with the mission.
You need permission to register or use a domain name that contains a Wikimedia mark in it. Do not register a domain that looks or sounds similar to a Wikimedia mark or includes a misspelled Wikimedia mark, because that can confuse Wikimedia users.
4.3 Events and conferences
You need a trademark license if you plan to host a public event or a conference that uses a Wikimedia mark.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in an event.
- What is the proposed title of the event?
- Who is hosting, sponsoring, or coordinating the event?
- Include contact information (and Wikimedia username if relevant) for the person organizing the event.
- Is the event organized for community members?
- What is the topic of the event?
- The location, date, and duration of the event.
- Include handouts, examples, mockups, or other descriptions of the proposed use.
When you obtain a trademark license, it will apply only to the specific event in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to host another event.
You need a trademark license if you want to use a Wikimedia mark in a publication, unless your use qualifies as fair or nominative use under U.S. trademark law or other applicable foreign laws.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in a publication.
- What is the proposed title of the publication?
- Contact information (and Wikimedia username if relevant) for the applicant.
- Who is the author, editor, and publisher of the publication?
- For fiction, what is the storyline?
- How do you want to use and discuss the mark?
- Include screenshots of the pages in your publication that includes or discusses the mark. (For a book, where in the book will the mark appear?)
- If your publication will display a screenshot of a Wikimedia site, please include that as well.
- Will the publication be in hard copy, an e-book, or some other type of medium?
- What is the print run and distribution area for the publication? How many editions will it have?
When you obtain a trademark license, it will only apply to the specific publication in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to make another publication.
4.5 Film og TV
You need a trademark license to use the Wikipedia logo in a movie, TV show episode, or online production.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in a movie or TV show episode.
- What is the proposed title of the movie or TV show episode?
- Contact information (and Wikimedia username if relevant) for the applicant.
- The names of the screenwriter, director, producer, distributor, actors, and any interviewees (for documentaries).
- How will the Wikimedia mark be displayed or discussed? Include a screenshot of any Wikimedia site that you want to show.
- Include a script and any footage that has already been created. Unless discussed in the script, specify the location of the film and whether it will advertise a product in conjunction with the use of Wikimedia marks.
- Where, when, and how will the movie be distributed?
- How will it be advertised? Do you intend to display the Wikimedia marks on the advertisement?
When you obtain a trademark license, it will only apply to the specific film, TV show episode, or online production in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to shoot another film or TV show episode.
4.6 Commercial merchandise
You may make merchandise with the Wikimedia trademarks for commercial use, if:
- You obtain a trademark license from the Wikimedia Foundation;
- You follow our Visual Identity Guidelines; and
- You truthfully advertise to customers how much of the selling price, if any, will be donated to Wikimedia sites.
5. Forbudte anvendelser
5.1. Misleading mirrors and mimicking sites
Please do not create a website that mimics the "look and feel" of a Wikimedia site. This especially applies to imitated Wikipedia articles. If you have a good reason to create a mimicking site, please contact us at email@example.com.
You do not need to contact us if you just want to use the MediaWiki software to create a wiki or if your mimicking site is clearly a parody.
If you create a mirror, make sure to comply with the relevant licenses for the content. Avoid copying links to Wikimedia policies and contact details. Please do not use the Wikimedia marks in a mirror of a Wikimedia site.
5.2 Linking to non-Wikimedia sites
You may use Wikimedia marks to link to Wikimedia sites only. Please refer to Links to Wikimedia sites if you want to link to a Wikimedia site from your website.
When you use a Wikimedia mark under this policy, please use it to represent only the project for which it stands. Please do not create the impression that your use is in any way endorsed, sponsored by, or is part of the Wikimedia Foundation. This section also applies when you are granted a license to use a mark that doesn't permit you to suggest such an endorsement.
6.1 Reporting misuse
Fighting trademark misuse is very important. We put a lot of effort into going after cases of trademark infringement because we want to protect the valuable trademark rights the community has created. If you see a mark being used in any way that could be infringing, please tell us! Just send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or report it here. We really appreciate your help!
6.2 Revoking permission for misuses
We may revoke the right to use the Wikimedia marks under this policy at any time by providing notice in any manner if we determine that a trademark use is inconsistent with our mission or could harm community members, movement organizations, or the Wikimedia Foundation.
7 Revision and Translation of the trademark policy
7.1 This trademark policy can be revised as follows:
- We will propose major changes to the community in three languages selected by us. We will give notice of the proposed revision on the Wikimedia sites and in an email to WikimediaAnnounce-L or a similar mailing list. The community can then comment for at least 30 days.
- For minor changes or changes required by law, when possible we will provide three days' notice to WikimediaAnnounce-L or a similar mailing list. Minor changes include language fixes, administrative changes, or corrections of inaccurate statements.
- This section does not apply to the user-friendly summary, the FAQs, the purpose statement for the trademark policy, the trademark request form, and the violation reporting form. They are not part of this trademark policy and can always be revised without notice.
7.2 Translation of the trademark policy
If there are any differences in meaning between the original English version of this trademark policy and a translation, you should follow the original English version.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you are not sure whether your use is in compliance with this policy or local trademark laws.
The purpose of our trademark policy
This statement isn’t a part of the trademark policy. It’s not even a legal document.
It simply explains the background for our new trademark policy.
The Wikimedia marks represent the goodwill created by the many volunteers that make up the Wikimedia community. That is why internet users can trust that sites bearing Wikimedia marks contain free and neutral educational content developed by committed Wikimedians through good faith collaboration. Ensuring that the Wikimedia marks are only used consistently with our mission helps protect the community’s hard work and the reputation of the Wikimedia sites.
The decentralized nature of the Wikimedia sites allows passionate contributors all over the globe to serve the mission of free knowledge. The first interest is therefore to ensure that contributors can easily use the Wikimedia marks in their work. The second interest is to protect the reputation of the Wikimedia marks. The marks signify educational content generated through an open and collaborative process. The reputation of the marks is particularly important given that the content that they represent is delivered digitally over the internet and could easily be misrepresented to the unwary user.
In order to serve the Wikimedia community interests, we need to apply trademark law creatively. The principles of trademark law were not developed with our unique organizational model in mind. But our goal is to make trademark protection work smoothly for our community. The trademark policy therefore respects the demands of trademark law while facilitating the use of the marks by the Wikimedia community.
2. Why use trademarks?
Trademarks allow a user to trust her or his intuition that a mark she or he recognizes will in fact lead her or him to the work that she or he is seeking. Trademark protection is not an intellectual property right that can be established or sold separately from the work that it represents. It is nowhere near as restrictive as copyright or patent protection. Those doctrines have demanded that we adopt open license approaches—such as Creative Commons and GNU GPL—to make the law better serve our mission. There is no equivalent open trademark license that we can adopt. Yet the unique contours of trademark law allow us to creatively make it work in our favor. It allows liberal re-use of Wikimedia content, while preserving the integrity of the Wikimedia sites. Because of our distinct trademarks, readers will instantly know which educational material has been created in the wiki way by our community.
- 2.1 How trademark rights protect against misuse.
- Trademark rights help safeguard the marks that represent the Wikimedia movement from misuse. People may use the marks misleadingly because of the popularity of the Wikimedia sites. Some try to make their own websites or services more appealing by using our marks. Others misappropriate the marks or the general appearance of the Wikimedia sites to attract attention. But that attention is misguided because the marks are used to pass off work that is not genuine Wikimedia content. If we were to permit this, users may mistakenly believe that this inferior content was produced by the Wikimedia community and their opinion of the Wikimedia sites would dwindle.
- For example, nobody likes to see sham Wikipedia articles created solely to promote companies in a way that is inconsistent with our mission. Similarly, cybersquatters often try to register common misspellings and variations of the Wikimedia marks in domain names. They do so to redirect users looking for the Wikimedia sites to advertising and other unrelated content. They can, for example, lead users to sites designed to spread malware by encouraging them to click on a pop-up ad stating, "Congratulations! You are the millionth visitor!" They can also expose users to phishing scams by asking them to enter their password on a page that looks like a Wikimedia site. These are all examples of misuses that we can fight using trademark rights. We need to retain the right to pursue these kind of misuses to protect the hard work of the Wikimedia community.
- 2.2 The importance of free speech in the trademark doctrine ensures that the Wikimedia trademarks do not interfere with free knowledge.
- Our mission of sharing knowledge relies on and encourages free speech. Trademark protection can exist in this ecosystem, as the doctrine leaves a lot of room for speech-related activities. For instance, the unique fair use doctrine under trademark law allows any use of a wordmark in a non-trademark sense (i.e. when the word could mean something other than the trademark). Trademark law also has a "nominative use" doctrine. This doctrine allows free uses of a mark to refer to the item branded with that name. Finally, trademark law also embraces use of marks in art and political speech. This spectrum of free uses of a trademark distinguishes this body of law from intellectual property rights like copyright and patent.
- By employing trademark protection over the Wikimedia marks, we do not impede these types of uses by anyone. Our liberal approval of trademark requests will further ensure that community members can easily use the Wikimedia marks to promote the mission, even for non-fair use purposes.
3. How we maintain our trademark rights.
To preserve the Wikimedia trademarks for the movement, we need to monitor for misuses and carefully license the marks. Misleading uses can weaken the connection between a mark and the goodwill that it represents, potentially resulting in loss of trademark rights. It could cause us to lose our ability to protect against other misleading or abusive uses. This is why it is important to keep track of the uses of the Wikimedia marks and to take action against misleading uses.
Similarly, trademark law requires trademark holders to monitor the quality of the work that is allowed to carry the trademarks under a license. Failure to control the quality through a license and monitoring can result in "naked licensing," causing a trademark holder to lose its rights. It is therefore important to require a level of quality that reflects a quality of the Wikimedia sites and reputation.
4. Facilitating trademark uses that promote the Wikimedia mission.
While we have certain legal obligations, we don’t want trademark requirements to be an obstacle for the work of the Wikimedia community. The trademark policy seeks to facilitate the ease of licensing Wikimedia marks. Many uses are also specifically permitted by the trademark policy and don’t require separate permission. Other uses fall under the many fair use categories, which we also outline for users in the policy.
We are also thinking creatively about how we can make it easier for community members to use the marks to further the Wikimedia mission.
To that end, we have introduced a liberal solution in the trademark policy for particular uses of Wikimedia marks called the "Quick License." It is a Quick License because instead of requesting a license and waiting for it to be prepared, community members just need to fill it out and email it to trademarkswikimediaorg. While the Quick License makes trademark use easier for common community uses, it includes some measures to maintain trademark protection of the Wikimedia marks. The license includes a quality control requirement and a reservation of a right to terminate the license if a mark is used in a way that is inconsistent with the Wikimedia mission.
5. What else is new?
Other than introducing a number of liberal solutions to assist community members in their work, the new trademark policy has very few substantive changes. We have focused on clarifying our trademark policy and practice as much as possible to make the use of the marks easier. Community members provided a lot of comments about trademark provisions that were previously ambiguous. We have worked to clarify those and other provisions in the new trademark policy and FAQs. We want the policy to be easily navigated and understood. We have therefore introduced a user-friendly summary at the beginning of the trademark policy that links to relevant provisions of the policy. We have also significantly expanded the FAQs and interlinked them with relevant provisions in the policy. The language of the policy and the FAQs was further tested under various readability indices to make sure that we wrote them in a straightforward way. Finally, we have introduced forms for requesting trademark licenses and reporting misuses that we hope will make those two processes smoother.
Back to trademark policy.