Have you ever noticed the images in Wikipedia articles, the images that help us to understand the topic better? If you’re a blogger and need a free image for your latest post, you often turn to Wikipedia. Or if you use Zemanta, you get images suggested that are often via Wikipedia. Have you ever wondered from where does Wikipedia get these images? These images are donated by common people, like you and me, to Wikipedia in order to illustrate the most comprehensive encyclopedia ever!
Wikipedia is one of the largest knowledge bank on internet. Everyone of us gets information from Wikipedia about any topic from alpha to omega. Isn’t it a good idea to donate the project something from our side? The best thing we can do to support Wikipedia is to create Wikipedia, and illustrating it with your own images is one of the best way to do it.
What you give when you donate an image to Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is a free-to-use encyclopedia. So when you donate an image to Wikipedia, you are doing your bit to keep the knowledge free to everyone. Basically, when you give an image to Wikipedia, you release some of your rights for the community. It means that anyone can use your image for any purpose, share it, edit it, or redistribute it for whatever reason on or outside Wikipedia. Wikipedia accepts Creative Commons License. It means that anyone can use your images for any reason as long as they attribute you. Use of the image without attribution is a violation of the copyright and you may take subsequent action against it.
What do you get?
If you take pride in our work, it is the best thing to get our work be seen by people. Wikipedia is the fifth most popular website on the internet and everyone visits it for some reason or other. In such scenario, the images, with an attribution to you, gives you an exposure to a vast community. The images get widely used outside Wikipedia too, so assuming that the user will attribute them to you, you get a little more exposure. You can also write your own copyright statement linking back to your photo gallery, website, or blog. Getting a backlink from a website like Wikipedia is a great deal.
Let’s see an example:
This is a picture of a nomadic lady I had clicked just outside of my office. When I found that the article “Nomadic Tribes in India” has no images, I uploaded this image to Wikimedia Commons (Wikipedia’s media repository) and inserted this image to the said article. It was a simple task. Wikipedia (and a lot of other people who are interested in the subject) got an image, I got my attribution. I have released this image with CC-BY-SA, and my extra permission statement reads:
You are free to use this image provided that you properly attribute it to me (Ganesh Dhamodkar). Please respect the copyright. You can see more of my images in my gallery. You may also like to visit my blog The Blog of Reflections.
So, it’s a win-win deal for both Wikipedia and me!
For expert photographers:
Both Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons have the section of Featured Images where the best work of Wikipedia is arranged. These featured images get a large number of visits everyday. If you provide a link to your own portfolio there, it can be a good advertisement for you. The images get featured after a long discussion and community consensus where often other expert photographers provide you some useful suggestions. You can provide suggestions to others too.
If you are hesitant about releasing the commercial rights for your images, you can upload low-resolution images to Wikipedia, 640 x 480 or 1280 x 960 would do. You can then ask people to contact you if they need commercial rights for high-resolution images.
If you think you take photos that can illustrate something well, and if you are interested to do your share to create a free encyclopedia, Be Bold and upload your images to Wikimedia Commons. You will need to create an account to do this, but it’s easy and can be done in minutes. Let me know if you need some help, leave a comment! See you at Wikimedia Commons :-)
Waiting for your questions!