Your my first guest author Vera!
One other great way to get contemporary pictures onto Wikipedia is by looking for pictures on Flickr that have the right Creative Commons license. Under ‘Advanced search’ you can specify this:
Creative Commons is an alternative to regular copyright that lets the original author keep some of it rights but makes clear that he or she is OK with other people using his work. Because Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia that strives to be accessible in whatever shape or form. This means that commercial or modified use should be an option.
Being able to use the work commercial might seem a bit extreme. Keep in mind that the threshold for what can be considered commercial is very low. If you have a blog that has advertisement on it, that blog is commercial – even if it doesn’t run a profit. If you share content on Facebook: commercial because Facebook advertises. It also makes it possible for the content to be printed in books, still a cornerstone of many education systems.
Sometimes you can’t find a picture that has the right license. I haven’t shunned away from contacting Flickr users to ask if they might be ok with the publication of their photo on Wikipedia.
Here is my example letter:
Dear Mr/Madam. ******
I'm contacting you concerning this picture you made of *******
I was wondering if you would be willing to donate this picture to the public domain so it can be used on *****s’ Wikipedia page. You can do this by going over to the picture, and under "'Owner settings" change "All Rights Reserved" to a Creative Commons "Attribution-ShareAlike" license. This will make it possible for any use of this picture as long as they credit you as its source and use the same license for their derivative work.
Please note that “any use” includes commercial use of your work. This is necessary because Wikipedia strives to be an open encyclopedia that can be published in whatever shape or form. Being printed in books and published on blogs that carry advertisements. I will fully understand if you object to this.
Your Flickr account will be credited as the source. Please drop me a note if you're OK with this.
Thanks in advance,
You do need a Flickr account to contact other users. Keep in mind that you are asking people a favor so stay polite. In my experience it is easier to get amateur photographers to agree with publication than professionals.
If you have found an interesting picture, the best way to upload it onto Wikimedia Commons is to use the Flickr bot.
Instructions there are fairly easy to follow. Do read the instructions if you go over it for the first time. Getting your picture in the right category might be an issue, but that will be covered by another blog post.