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Resolution: Images of identifiable people

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Resolutions Images of identifiable people Feedback?
This resolution regarding subject consent for images of identifiable living people was approved unanimously on 29 May 2011.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board affirms the value of freely licensed content, and we pay special attention to the provenance of this content. We also value the right to privacy, for our editors and readers as well as on our projects. Policies of notability have been crafted on the projects to limit unbalanced coverage of subjects, and we have affirmed the need to take into account human dignity and respect for personal privacy when publishing biographies of living persons.

However, these concerns are not always taken into account with regards to media, including photographs and videos, which may be released under a free license although they portray identifiable living persons in a private place or situation without permission. We feel that it is important and ethical to obtain subject consent for the use of such media, in line with our special mission as an educational and free project. We feel that seeking consent from an image's subject is especially important in light of the proliferation of uploaded photographs from other sources, such as Flickr, where provenance is difficult to trace and subject consent difficult to verify.

In alignment with these principles, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees urges the global Wikimedia community to:

  • Strengthen and enforce the current Commons guideline on photographs of identifiable people with the goal of requiring evidence of consent from the subject of media, including photographs and videos, when so required under the guideline. The evidence of consent would usually consist of an affirmation from the uploader of the media, and such consent would usually be required from identifiable subjects in a photograph or video taken in a private place. This guideline has been longstanding, though it has not been applied consistently.
  • Ensure that all projects that host media have policies in place regarding the treatment of images of identifiable living people in private situations.
  • Treat any person who has a complaint about images of themselves hosted on our projects with patience, kindness, and respect, and encourage others to do the same.


Approve: 10-0