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Wikipedia:Moving files to Commons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moving files to Commons is an activity of moving freely licensed files from Wikipedia to the Wikimedia Commons, which serves as the central file repository for all Wikimedia Foundation projects. When our local files are transferred there, they will provide the added benefit of becoming instantly and globally available across all Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Why move files to Commons?

  • Commons files may be used by any Wikimedia Foundation project, such as Wikipedia, Wikinews, or Wiktionary. Some projects, such as the Simple English Wikipedia, exclusively use files hosted on Commons. A file uploaded to Commons only has to be uploaded and maintained once, as opposed to dozens of times for each individual Wiki.
  • Commons extensively categorizes files, making it easy to find them across a wide variety of topics.
  • Commons files are maintained even if they are not immediately used to illustrate articles. Wikipedia, by contrast, is not a file host and therefore does not permit unused files.

Should a file be moved to Commons?

A simple flowchart to help determine whether a file should be moved to Commons

What not to transfer

Files that should not be moved to Commons
Do not Transfer Because Action to Take?
☒N Non-free content Commons does not accept non-free content.
☒N Derivatives of non-free content Commons does not accept non-free content.
☒N Photographs of 2D/3D works taken in countries where there is no freedom of panorama. Commons does not accept non-free content.
☒N Non-Public domain works exceeding the threshold of originality in their home country. Commons does not accept non-free content.
☒N Files lacking a clear and verifiable source. Files must be clearly sourced so that their copyright status may be verified by anybody. Tag these with {{subst:Nsd}}
☒N Files lacking adequate evidence of permission. Files created by a third party and uploaded to Wikipedia under a free license must include a permission statement (e.g. link to online permission statement, VRT permission) so that it can be verified that said party has actually agreed to such publication. Tag these with {{subst:Npd}}
☒N Files without a license tag. License tags describe the copyright status of a file. Tag these with {{subst:Nld}}
☒N Files with a free license restricting derivatives/commercial use, or restricting usage to Wikipedia only. Freely licensed files uploaded to Wikipedia and Commons must allow derivatives/commercial use, and usage outside Wikipedia. Tag these with {{Db-f3}}
☒N Files with dubious Own work claims. (e.g. Claiming an image of Pikachu as own work) These are probably copyright violations. List at FfD and/or tag egregious cases with {{Db-f9}}
☒N Files which are Public domain in their country of origin, but still copyrighted in the USA. Commons requires that files be free in both their country of origin and the USA. Note that the English Wikipedia does not have such a restriction for uploaded PD files.
☒N Files which are Public domain in the USA but still copyrighted in their country of origin. Commons requires that files be free in both their country of origin and the USA.


There are several software tools available to assist in moving files from the various Wikipedias into commons. Tools that are "web apps" can be run without first being downloaded to your computer.

FileImporter, from our own Wikimedia, is the default and preferred tool.

Tools for moving files to Commons
Name Status Create wikitext Can upload Import history OAuth Platform Coded in Where to get Author or maintainer
FileImporter Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Web app PHP The "Export to Wikimedia Commons" tab on the file description page Wikimedia Deutschland
Fileinfo Active Yes No No Web app PHP toollabs:magog/fileinfo.php Magog the Ogre (talk · contribs)
mtc-cli Active Yes Yes No No CPython (Windows, macOS, Linux) Python fastily/mtc-cli Fastily (talk · contribs)
For the Common Good Unclear Yes Yes No No .NET Framework 2.0 or Mono (Windows, macOS, Linux) C# atlight.github.io This, that and the other (talk · contribs)
CommonsHelper Abandoned Poorly Yes No Yes Web app PHP toollabs:commonshelper Magnus Manske (talk · contribs)
imagecopy.py Abandoned Yes Yes No Yes CPython (Windows, macOS, Linux) Python Phabricator Multichill (talk · contribs)
MTC! Abandoned Yes Yes No No Java SE (Windows, macOS, Linux) Java WP:MTC! Fastily (talk · contribs)

Only FileImporter can preserve the full page history. MTC! has some additional automation features and admin-only options.

Manual transfer

Save the file to transfer onto your computer and upload it at Commons. Include the following information on the file's Commons description page:

  • The contents of the local {{Information}} templateinformation Note: Fileinfo generates the upload information text to transfer manually.
  • The license taginformation Note: some templates used locally exist with another name on Commons. For example, {{PD-old}} is {{PD-old-100}} on Commons, and {{PD-old}} on Commons is {{PD-old-70}} on Wikipedia.
  • A copy of the local upload log — You must state the username of each uploader and the date/time at which the upload was performed. This is a strict requirement for the GFDL and Creative Commons licenses. You are not required to upload previous versions of the file, or mention reverted vandalism/file usurpations.

Once you are finished, please tag Wikipedia's copy of the file with {{subst:Ncd}} or {{subst:Ncd|File:New filename.png}} (if you chose a new name for the Commons file).

Backlog status

Backlog: Copy to Wikimedia Commons
Goal: 0 files
Current: 444 files
Initial: 19,895 files

See also