Wikimedia Commons (or simply Commons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files.[1] It is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, from which uploaded files can be used across all Wikimedia projects[2] in all languages, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wikinews, or downloaded for offsite use, as all of the content is either in the public domain or released under free licenses such as the GNU Free Documentation License.[3] As of January 2009, the repository contains over 3.8 million media files.


The project was proposed by Erik Möller in March 2004[4] and launched on September 7, 2004,[5][6] A key motivation behind the setup of a central repository was the desire to reduce duplication of effort across the Wikimedia projects and languages, as the same file had to be uploaded to many different wikis separately before Commons was created.

Policies and usageEdit

Most Wikimedia projects still allow local uploads which are not visible to other projects or languages, but this option is meant to be used primarily for material which local project policies allow, but which would not be permitted according to the copyright policy of Commons, such as fair use content. Wikimedia Commons itself does not allow fair use or uploads under non-free licenses, including licenses which restrict commercial use of materials or disallow derivative works. Licenses that are acceptable include the GNU Free Documentation License, Creative Commons Attribution and ShareAlike licenses,[7] and the public domain.

The default language for Commons is English, but registered users can customize their interface to use any other available user interface translations. Many content pages, in particular policy pages and portals, have also been translated into various languages. Files on Wikimedia Commons are categorized using MediaWiki's category system. In addition, they are often collected on individual topical gallery pages. While the project was originally proposed to also contain free text files, these continue to be hosted on a sister project, Wikisource.

Use on Wikia sitesEdit

Wikia sites using the GFDL can copy Commons material with suitable acknowledgment, such as Template:Commonscat. Links to pages on Commons can be in "internal link" format, made simply by prefixing "Commons:", e.g. Commons:Category:Law.

See alsoEdit

  • Creative Commons - a project providing a set of content licenses and a directory of works using them
  • Internet Archive - the largest freely accessible online collection of videos
  • Project Gutenberg - the largest freely accessible collection of documents (including books and sheet music)
  • Ourmedia - a community media archive


  1. Endres, Joe, "Wiki websites wealth of information". International News on Fats, Oils and Related Materials : INFORM. Champaign, Illinois: May 2006. Vol. 17, Iss. 5; pg. 312, 1 pgs. Source type: Periodical ISSN: 08978026 ProQuest document ID: 1044826021 Text Word Count 746 Document URL: Proquest URL ProQuest (subscription) retrieved August 6, 2007
  2. "Embedding Commons’ media in Wikimedia projects". Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  3. Twist, Jo (20 November 2005). "Open media to connect communities". BBC News. Retrieved on 2007-08-06.
  4. Möller, Erik (19 March 2004). "[Wikipedia-l] Proposal:". Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  5. "Main Page". Wikimedia Commons (7 September 2004). Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  6. "Wikimedia Commons: Über 100.000 freie Bilder, Töne und Filme" (in German). (25 May 2005). Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  7. See Creative Commons licenses, of which "NonCommercial" and "NoDerivs" can not be used on Wikimedia Commons.

External linksEdit


Template:Meta Template:Wikimedia Foundation

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikimedia Commons. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Legal, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.