Is it ok to include an image from Wikipedia or Wikicommons directly, i.e using the ![<title>](<URL>) or ![<title>][<num>] syntax?

Because TeX.SX is also under a wiki license it would seem ok, but I'm not an expert in such things.

The reason I ask was because of Dimensioning of a technical drawing in TikZ which links a technical drawing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File%3aDIN_69893_hsk_63a_drawing.png, which might be better of be included in the question to save people the extra click and make the question easier to understand.

  • 2
    Be sure to add an attribution and a link back to Wikipedia.
    – Caramdir
    Apr 4, 2011 at 15:48
  • @Caramdir: Good idea. I would have used the image URL directly, which is basically a link to Wikipedia. Apr 4, 2011 at 15:50
  • No, you must fulfill the BY part of the license, which usually involves a clickable link and a text "Image by Wikipedia" (or something like that): commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/…
    – Caramdir
    Apr 4, 2011 at 15:55
  • @Caramdir: I see. Thanks for pointing that out. Apr 4, 2011 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Philosophically, I would say yes -- we are under creative commons by-sa-2.5 and we have not yet switched to by-sa-3.0 yet.

edit: we switched to by-sa-3.0 a week ago.

  • Ok, I just figured out that Wikipedia is under creative commons by-sa-3.0. So it's just a version difference. Should be a real issue IMHO. Apr 4, 2011 at 12:58
  • @martin see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/61875/… Apr 4, 2011 at 20:47
  • So basically by-sa-3.0 (used by Wikipedia) isn't backwards compatible to by-sa-2.5 (used by TeX.SX), so we are out of luck? On the other hands we would simple link to the pictures. Apr 12, 2011 at 13:49
  • @martin see my update Apr 13, 2011 at 0:27
  • Aah, wonderful! I was under the impression that you were not planning to do that for the oversee-able future. Apr 13, 2011 at 7:44

Note that while WM Commons has only CC/GFDL licensed content, WP has many images that are proprietary and used under fair use. Look at the image page to see the status. E.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EasyRider.jpg

I think it would be a copyright violation on the part of either the uploader or the site to upload such fair use content, because of the license granted by the site.

I think this doesn't matter for images, since the image files are hosted on Imgur, and so should not fall under the aegis of the CC-WIKI license grant.

  • Good point. With 'uploading' you also mean including it as an image with the direct WP URL, like ![Image description](http://wikipeadia/url/of/image)? Apr 13, 2011 at 8:03
  • @Martin: In fact, I don't think this point is cogent now, since the images aren't hosted here. Regradless of whether files are uploading using the "from my computer" or "from the web" buttons, they will be hosted on Imgur. Apr 13, 2011 at 16:32
  • @Charles: :-) No! You can add images without uploading it to imgur.com using the syntax I wrote in my last comment: ![Image description](http://wikipeadia/url/of/image) or ![Image description][1] and later [1]: http://wikipeadia/url/of/image. You also can simply add a link to the image and then place a ! in front of it to make it an image. Apr 13, 2011 at 16:36
  • @Martin: I had understood that those Markdown image includes resulted in image uploads to Imgur, this being considered a better behaviour since there was less chance of link rot this way. I could be wrong, but that's how I interpreted "all images" in Jeff's answer at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64005/… Apr 13, 2011 at 16:44
  • @Charles: No, images included like this are automatically uploaded to Imgur, only if you go through the 'Add image' dialog. I can check that by looking at the HTML code. I don't think Jeff was talking about that. He basically said that all uploaded images are uploaded using one Imgur account. Link rot is an issue, and I, as a moderator, normally upload external linked images to Imgur if I encounter them in user posts. However, in the case of Wikipedia this shouldn't be an issue. They have the images under version control. Apr 13, 2011 at 17:08
  • @Martin: OK, good to know. In either case, the image is not hosted here. Apr 13, 2011 at 18:28

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