Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest article - OTRS on Wikimedia

The following is from one of the Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia team, Vera de Kok, all the way from The Hague.  We are a team that has all different skill sets, which is why we need each other (and you).  Vera is the expert in all things Wikimedia Commons related.  She is very patient with us lowly text only editors (I'm #1 on the list) and helps explain licensing rules on Wikipedia, sometimes over and over (to me mainly).  Anyway, here she is explaining what OTRS is. 

Thank you Vera for all the work you do.


OTRS, no it’s not scary.
When you place media files on Wikipedia, they have to have a free license, because Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia . This is easy when you yourself have created the photograph, or when it has been published under the right CreativeCommons license on Flickr.
But sometimes images are send in by third parties, and that can raise some red flags; especially when those pictures have been published before on the web. For these kinds of situations we have the OTRS system. Which stands for Open-source Ticket Request System. This system processes e-mails that verify if the owner of the photographs really has agreed to the license agreement.
In order to process tickets quickly, the standard form should be used:
I hereby affirm that CHOOSE ONE: [I, (name here) am] OR [(copyright holder's name) is] the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of [SPECIFY THE WORK HERE - describe the work to be released in detail, attach the work to the email, or give the URL of the work if online]
I agree to STANDARD CHOICE; SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TYPE OF LICENSE: [publish that work under the free license "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0" (unported) and the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).]
I acknowledge that by doing so I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product or otherwise, and to modify it according to their needs, provided that they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.
I am aware that this agreement is not limited to Wikipedia or related sites.
I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be claimed to have been made by me.
I am aware that the free license only concerns copyright, and I reserve the option to take action against anyone who uses this work in a libelous way, or in violation of personality rights, trademark restrictions, etc.
I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the work may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.
[SENDER'S NAME AND DETAILS (to allow future verification of authenticity)]
[SENDER'S AUTHORITY (Are you the copyright-holder, director, appointed representative of, etc.)]

Translations of this form into other languages are also available here.
The standard license in a CreativeCommons-Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. But you can choose one that is also on the list. Be sure to not forget the version number of the license, because forgetting that makes it invalid.
This has to be send to If the author of the photograph has not send the permission directly to this e-mail address but to you, you have to forward it along with a link to where the file is posted on Commons and by include headers. This is a bit tricky the first time, here are instructions on how to do that in some of the more popular e-mail clients:
If you use another e-mail client, try googling “[client name] + include full headers” and you will very likely find instructions. Once you have send the e-mail to the OTRS system, you may want to include the otrs pending-template on the file page to let patrollers know it’s already coming.
That’s it.

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